Addressing Transportation Issues Leads to Better Care

Transportation can influence the health and well-being of communities. Every year, 3.6 million people in the United States do not obtain medical care due to transportation issues. These issues, which affect rural and urban communities, may result in missed or delayed health care appointments, increased health expenditures and overall poorer health outcomes. Although hospitals and health systems do not traditionally focus on transportation within their purview of care delivery, there is a growing recognition that improving transportation access and support for patients can result in improved outcomes and lower costs for populations. Reliable and safe transportation services are essential for healthy communities.

Strategies for hospitals and health systems

Transportation is necessary to access emergency services, health care, adequate food and clothing, education, employment and social activities. Barriers to transportation greatly affect the quality of people’s lives.

“Transportation and the Role of Hospitals,” recently released by the American Hospital Association’s Health Research & Educational Trust and the Association for Community Health Improvement, discusses how transportation issues affect health and health care access and outlines strategies for hospitals and health systems. Strategies include screening and evaluating patients’ transportation needs, providing transportation services through community partnerships or programs and supporting policy and infrastructure programs that create safer and more accessible transportation options. Transportation also can be a vehicle for wellness through implementation of varied, targeted strategies.

Denver Health Medical Center Partnership with Lyft

At Denver Health Medical Center, hospital leaders noticed the no-show rate for outpatient visits was significant. In addition, patients who had been admitted to the hospital were waiting an extended amount of time after discharge to…

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