We Drive Rural Health
HealthTran is a volunteer driver program administered by MRHA, with the mission to safeguard and improve the health of rural Missourians. HealthTran closes the transportation gap and empowers communities by allowing rural Missourians to schedule rides to and from their health and wellness visits.
Across Missouri, town hall meetings identified transportation as one of the top two barriers faced by rural communities. Rural transportation is limited, restrictive, expensive, and difficult to find. HealthTran began in 2014, as a pilot program, to learn if transportation actually improves rural health outcomes. The answer is yes.
HealthTran was designed to address rural transportation limitations and barriers, with a primary focus on health and social determinants of health that affect rural Missourians and their communities. In finding a sustainable solution, with flexibility to meet the needs and barriers of the unique Missouri landscape, HealthTran developed a multifaceted approach that includes:
- Strengthening health care access through collaboration, Mobility Management, advocacy, and sustainability
- Creating a one-stop Ride Scheduling Platform to link all local transit options for
- simple, quick, and effective ride scheduling, thus reducing stress for workers and cancellations and no-shows for healthcare providers
- Enhancing local and new transportation options with the MHRA Volunteer Driver Program
- Working with nontraditional forms of transportation by utilizing available, unused vehicles dedicated to community transport
- Sharing information on government-funded programs and other resources to enhance transportation options
How HealthTran works:
- HealthTran partners with community agencies to offer transportation to their clients.
- HealthTran brings together all local transit providers into one technology platform to make scheduling rides and navigating transportation simple.
- HealthTran recruits qualified Volunteer Drivers to supplement these options.
- Community agencies schedule rides for their clients using the HealthTran Ride Scheduling Platform by selecting the best fitting and most affordable option.
- Many of these rides are passed on to Volunteer Drivers who pick up and transport clients to their scheduled appointments
Why is sufficient rural transportation necessary in rural Missouri?
- Growing senior and disabled populations face additional barriers accessing adequate health care. When unmet transportation needs are added, health outcomes worsen.
- A lack of access to quick medical attention results in worsened conditions and higher medical costs
- Closures of rural hospitals and clinics create health care deserts where those without transportation may not have any options within a reachable distance
Lack of access to sufficient, immediate, and affordable health care contributes to a poor quality of life, especially for those facing additional barriers outside of transportation. HealthTran’s services work to find multiple solutions so community members and agencies are empowered to make the choice which best fits their needs. The supplemental Rider Program engages community support for rural Missourians by connecting volunteer drivers to residents in need of transportation.
For more information, contact Mary Gordon, HealthTran Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 573.616.2740.