Lyft Business Blog

How Lee Health provided Hurricane Ian relief to employees via the Lyft Healthcare platform

Lee Health, located in southwest Florida and one of the largest not-for-profit public health systems in the state, is no stranger to hurricane season. However, the devastation from Hurricane Ian in 2022 was worse than anything their community had ever experienced.

When disaster strikes

On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 5 storm. For the next 4 days, Florida residents saw unprecedented storm surges, excessive wind, and a massive total rainfall of nearly 20 inches. The storm left more than 2.6 million residents without power.[1]

Lee Health knew they had to maintain their operations to care for injured members of the community, but the effects of Hurricane Ian left many employees without viable transportation. Around 700 cars in Lee Health parking lots were flooded to the point of ruin, leaving anyone who drove to work that day stranded. And employees who were needed for the next shift found their cars had been damaged beyond repair as well.

Lee Health went above and beyond to help employees who lost their cars. They even offered to cover insurance deductibles so individuals could buy replacement vehicles. But shopping for a car can take a while, even in the best of times. And after the storm, all of the rental cars were gone within a couple of hours.

Putting employees first

Lee Health’s executive team quickly realized Lyft Pass was the perfect solution for their employees’ commuting needs. Within a few hours, they were able to design a Lyft Pass program, distribute passes to their employees, and instantly offer access to reliable transportation.

“The Lyft rideshare program was essential to supporting our employees in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian,” said Mike Wukitsch, Chief People Officer at Lee Health. “With a high number of damaged personal vehicles, the rideshare program made it possible for employees to get to-and-from work, ensuring that our hospitals were staffed and fully operational.”

Why Lyft Pass

Lee Health was able to customize their own program, while taking care of their employees. The program also seamlessly complimented their existing Lyft Concierge program for patient travel. Key benefits include:

  • Ease of onboarding: Employees were already familiar with Lyft and using the app. No training was needed, which allowed for agility and instant adoption.
  • Less paperwork: Lee Health tracked usage and monitored the budget of their Lyft Pass program with advanced reporting in the Lyft Business Portal.
  • Customizable: Lee Health created their program with customized restrictions on pick up and drop off locations and budget, providing guardrails to ensure employees only used the passes for the intended commute purpose.
  • Cost efficient: Flexible program settings allowed Lee Health to monitor usage, adjust monetary limits based on need, and only pay for rides taken.
  • Employee retention: Lee Health showed employees they care and provided a solution for accessing reliable transportation.

For Trey Theisler, Supervisor of Virtual Health and Telemedicine at Lee Health, one of the biggest benefits was being able to care for and relieve their employees: “During the first few days, the program relieved people who had been on staff for days at a time. We were sleeping under cubicles, in labs, in crowded physicians’ offices. Some were waking up after only 3 hours and going back to a shift. Lyft Pass helped us get people to and from work and offer relief.”

A helpful solution

Lyft Pass for employees in response to extraordinary circumstances—whether it’s a hurricane, snow storm, fire, public transportation shut down, or any other disruptive event—enables health systems to care for employees. Overall, Lee Health and Lyft Healthcare provided over 600 individuals with access to over 8,000 rides during the 6 weeks that they used Lyft Pass. Lee Health showed that when an emergency strikes, organizations can find transportation solutions quickly without interruptions to care.

“Without Lyft Pass we may have set up carpooling, which would be time consuming and a burden to a lot of people,” shared Mary Briggs, System Director, Strategic Communications and Public Relations at Lee Health. “We’re definitely focused on what we can do to solve employee problems so I think we would have come up with a solution. But this one was our best option.”

Emergency or not, Lyft Pass is there to help health systems manage employee commutes, solve parking and commute challenges, retain top talent, and delight their people by providing access to reliable transportation. Lyft also offers solutions for shuttle commute, HR retention, meetings and events, or executives traveling for business with a Business Profile program—all options to seamlessly move your employees around when needed.

To find out how you can expand your Lyft Business offerings, including setting up a Lyft Pass program, reach out to your Lyft Business account manager or log in to the Business Portal.

  1. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Monthly National Climate Report for September 2022, published online October 2022, retrieved on March 15, 2023 from