According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of the American population are diagnosed with at least one chronic disease, and about 25 percent of adults are disabled.2 The Bureau Transportation Statistics (BTS) also reports that about 32 percent of the elderly disabled population needs transportation assistance.3 The above statistics shows the importance of RTWI in achieving healthy population through effective transportation system.
Through RTWI, the transportation community will be recognized as an essential partner with the public health and medical communities. This collaboration will open room for investments, community grants, and commitments between communities.
How it Helps
To implement RTWI, the data of the vulnerable population for which transportation barriers appear to disproportionately impact needs to be presented. This will cover the percentage of veterans, older adults, people with disabilities, chronically ill patients, and other groups who have limited or no access to transportation to healthcare facilities or medical appointments.4
The RTWI implementation cost of transportation subsidies (vouchers) for vulnerable population, incentives for private and public drivers, and other miscellaneous expenses should be estimated. There should be a proper planning on how, when, and where to obtain sponsorship, grants, or partnership to alleviate the costs.
Partnerships between transportation agencies and healthcare institutes is a key factor to implement this strategy. Effective partnerships can yield lower transportation costs for the target population, while providing more commuters (customers) for the transit agencies involved. In addition, partnerships with other stakeholders like non-governmental agencies and other interested individuals or companies will be essential for creating awareness, fundraising, and overall functioning of the program.5
Monitoring and Evaluation:
The effectiveness of RTWI in achieving the set objectives can be evaluated through:
– Estimating the number of clinic visits by vulnerable population pre- and 2 years post-implementation of the strategy
– Estimating the number missed appointments by the target population pre- and post-implementation of RTWI
– Estimating the cost on healthcare pre- and post-implementation to evaluate cost-effectiveness
– Monitoring the health status and quality of life of patients 2 years after implementation of the policy
1) Flint Mass Transportation Authority (MTA)
Flint MTA provides county-wide transportation for Flint and other cities in Genesee County, Michigan. Its Ride to Wellness program in 2016, and it provides same-day, door-to-door, and non-emergency transportation for riders going for medical or other health-related appointments. RTWI has been successful since its adoption, providing more than 50,000 rides in its first year of operation.
2) Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services
The Ride to Wellness program in the Salt Lake County, Utah provides transportation for older adults (60 years and up) to vital appointments including dialysis, chemotherapy, and physical therapy.