Transportation and Healthcare Access

In the United States, transportation is a vital component of access to healthcare. Yet the barriers associated with transportation are complex and can have profound impacts on health outcomes. The literature on transportation and healthcare access shows that lack of transportation results in missed appointments, rescheduled or cancelled appointments, unmet medical needs and medication refill delays. These outcomes are disproportionately felt by groups with disadvantaged social and economic status, such as those living below the poverty threshold and individuals on Medicaid.

Transportation barriers are frequently related to long-distance travel, high cost of fuel or transportation service fares and inconvenient times for public transit routes. In addition, a variety of demographic and contextual factors can influence a person’s ability to access healthcare services including health status, employment status, housing and neighborhood characteristics, and income level.

While owning a private vehicle is the most reliable way to reach healthcare providers, the financial burden of gasoline and insurance costs, recurring maintenance fees, and the time required to use a car to reach medical appointments make this an option out of reach for many low-income patients. Studies show that providing subsidized transportation for medical treatment is both cost-effective and improves patient health. This is why hospitals are increasingly incorporating transportation as part of their efforts to address the social determinants of health. However, more research is needed to understand the specifics of what makes transportation a barrier and to test the effectiveness of different interventions. transportation and healthcare access

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *