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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.

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