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Rides to Wellness

A significant factor in rising healthcare costs is the prevalence of chronic disease across the country, with a disparate impact on low income populations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity and arthritis are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems and the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. CDC notes that 86% of all healthcare spending in 2010 were for individuals with one or more chronic medical condition, contributing to the approximate 17% of GDP being spent on healthcare. Chronic conditions reduce workplace productivity and cause absenteeism, producing an annual economic loss of over $1 trillion.  

Lack of transportation access can create a barrier for treatment and screening, with an estimated 3.6 million Americans missing or delaying non-emergency medical care each year because of transportation issues. Many people may not make appointments or take advantage of free health screenings due to not being able to get a ride.

For all of these reasons, the Federal Transit Administration launched the Rides to Wellness Initiative to increase partnerships between health and transportation providers and show the positive financial benefit to such partnerships.

The initiative’s goals are to: 

  • Increase access to care
  • Improve health outcomes
  • Reduce healthcare costs

In March 2015, FTA hosted a Rides to Wellness summit, a cross-agency effort to clarify the needs, identify the barriers and brainstorm solutions. Representatives from FTA, HHS, USDA and the Department of Veterans Affairs attended.

The FAST Act included a competitive pilot program for innovative coordinated access and mobility (Section 3006(b)) to help finance innovative projects for the transportation disadvantaged that improve the coordination of transportation services and non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services; such as:

  • the deployment of coordination technology
  • projects that create or increase access to community
  • One-Call/One-Click Centers

The FAST Act authorized the pilot program for five years, starting in 2016. The 2016 opportunity closed on May 31, 2016, but to receive notice regarding the 2017 program, sign up for email updates. Learn more about the Rides to Wellness Demonstration and Innovative Coordinated Access and Mobility Grants pilot program and/or view the FTA webinar.

Additional Resources on the Rides to Wellness Initiative:
For more information contact: Danielle Nelson, Program Lead

Veterans Transportation Community Living Initiative

FTA awarded $64 million in competitive grants to help veterans, military families, and others connect to jobs and services in their communities by improving access to local transportation options. All funded projects are displayed, with descriptions, on the map based on the location of service. 

National Center for Mobility Management

Healthcare Access Challenge Grant awards and info about the current projects.  For more information, please visit the website for the National Center for Mobility Management.
Updated: Friday, May 5, 2017
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