Megan Eisenbise is the morning dispatch lead for ComTrans, a specialized community behavioral health and social service transportation company based in Phoenix. With her shift beginning at 4am, Megan is ready for lunch by 10am. But she’s more than happy to work these hours because she loves her job.
“I always have this thing that I feel like I have to help others. It makes me happy,” she says. “I feel more at peace at the end of my day when I know that I helped someone. This job definitely provides that.”
Megan previously worked the desk at a clinic for children with special needs. But nearly two years ago, when her company wanted her to move to a more distant office, she chose to go to ComTrans instead. “I feel very accomplished in my days after I leave here,” she says.
Before Megan was promoted to morning lead dispatcher, she worked in the routing department, where there are next-day routers, same-day routers and weekend routers. Megan was responsible for organizing the weekend routes.
But she prefers her current role in dispatch because there’s more to do. After all, on any given shift, there can be up to about 100 drivers transporting clients around the Greater Phoenix area. All of these drivers need support, and that’s where Megan and the other dispatchers come in.
Once Megan settles into the office, she contacts each of her drivers via Zello to see how they are doing and if they need help. Sometimes a driver is concerned because a client is not answering the door, or maybe the driver finished the route and wants an additional assignment. Other times, the client wants to bring additional passengers into the vehicle and the driver needs to know if that’s acceptable, especially during the pandemic.
Although the call volume dipped at the beginning of the pandemic, Megan really loved how the company worked together to help clients in that perilous time.
“Our drivers dressed in PPE and transported people to and from the hospital, as well as to follow up appointments,” she explains. “After each transport, the entire inside of the vehicle was sanitized. We didn’t transport our non-positive clients in those vehicles. We did take every precaution. Everybody had to wear masks and we didn’t multi-load with more than one person in a vehicle. We followed all those protocols.”
With the rollout of vaccines, the ComTrans call volume is back up and Megan is busier than ever. Not only does she help drivers via Zello, but she also fields calls from ComTrans clients, who include behavioral health agencies, state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and hospitals. There are also individual clients who are able to pay for the service through their insurance or privately, including a 100-year-old woman who took a ComTrans vehicle to the doctor today.
Although Megan didn’t have direct contact with this passenger, she got great satisfaction out of knowing she was part of helping this woman get to her appointment as easily and comfortably as possible.
“We do have clients on recurring schedules, so our drivers and dispatch become very familiar with them,” Megan says. “Using Zello makes getting a hold of the drivers simple and this helps us deliver the best customer service we possibly can.”
At ComTrans, there is also a separate team that handles crisis transportation. Last year, the team responded to 23,318 crisis transport calls. Once Megan went out on a call with a crisis driver to take someone to a rehab facility. But drivers on the crisis response team also shepherd survivors of abuse to domestic violence shelters and sometimes transport people who have attempted suicide to the hospital.
“I work with amazing people,” Megan says.
Not only does ComTrans transport adults to their mental health and doctor’s appointments, but the company also specializes in transporting children, including children with special needs.
The company drives children to elementary, middle and high schools, as well as after school behavioral health programs and special needs programs.
But the company has set the bar high for its drivers who ferry children to appointments with Child Protective Services. Because these children need case observers when meeting with their family members, ComTrans has trained some of its drivers to become case aids and monitor visitations. Last year alone, ComTrans employees enabled more than seven thousand family visits in the state of Arizona.
The company also makes these drivers available on weekends when many of the visitations between children and families occur.
Although ComTrans began in Phoenix, Arizona, it now has drivers that serve the whole state of Arizona, and the company has recently expanded to Texas and Oregon. “I’ve never felt such a part of a team,” Megan says. “At this company, we’re all here to help people. We’re all driven to do the same thing. The environment here is amazing!”