Transportation to Support Rural Healthcare
Transportation is an important social determinant of health in rural communities. The availability of reliable transportation impacts a person’s ability to access appropriate and well-coordinated healthcare, purchase nutritious food, and otherwise care for him or herself. Rural populations most likely to need transportation services to maintain their health and well-being include:
- the elderly
- people with disabilities
- low-income individuals and families
- veterans and people with special healthcare needs, who often must travel long distances to access care
This guide focuses on how communities can provide transportation services to support access to rural healthcare, which may also benefit healthcare providers by decreasing inappropriate use of EMS services, improving utilization of healthcare services, and decreasing no-show rates. The guide also highlights transportation as a community-based service that can allow the elderly and people with disabilities to live successfully in a community rather than entering a long-term care facility or leaving the community.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Where can I get help planning and funding transportation projects?
- Where can I get help finding local transportation programs and services?
- What are the health-related consequences of not having transportation for rural residents, including the elderly and people with disabilities?
- What strategies can rural communities and healthcare facilities use to provide non-emergency medical transportation services?
- What issues should facilities and organizations consider when providing transportation?
- Can Medicaid be used to subsidize non-emergency medical transportation?
- What resources are available to assist my rural community in planning, developing or expanding public transit services that would help the elderly, disabled, and low-income individuals access healthcare services?
- What are the types of accommodations rural transportation providers must support to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and who is eligible for these special accommodations?
- Are there programs or grant opportunities to help tribal communities improve transportation services?
- Are there grants or programs to assist veterans in rural areas with transportation to VA medical centers and other VA and non-VA facilities for medical care?