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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. Check out this article, Meeting the Transportation Needs of Rural Communities.
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:
- A community champion brings the program to life. A champion is usually a dedicated health provider but can be anyone.
- HealthTran partners with community champions, agencies, and stakeholders to determine where people need to go, the distance to care, and gaps that need to be filled to offer accessible 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 with a heart for service and desire to change lives 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.
- HealthTran provides support and coordination every step of the way.
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
The goal of HealthTran is to reduce emergency room use and missed appointments. Delivering transportation in rural communities means access to food, medicine, and other wellness services. 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.
HealthTran’s approach to quality transportation
HealthTran takes a personalized approach in developing individual, organization, and community health care transportation solutions. We collaborate with health and social care providers to create an innovative community environment improving access to care and health outcomes. Our strong sense of identification with the individuals and organizations we serve means that we constantly strive to provide solutions that meet partner needs. We take a progressive approach to technology and value seamless interaction with HealthTran members to ensure the best value for their membership.
Here’s what you can expect:
- A flexible solution designed to meet your intricate needs
- Assistance with transportation coordination through locally based HealthTran coordinators
- The latest technology to meet the needs of riders, partners, and drivers
- Friendly volunteer drivers with a heart for service
HealthTran reaches three regions within Missouri, including an 11-county region in South Central Missouri, a four-county region in Northwest Missouri, and a three-county region in West Central Missouri. Expansion efforts are underway in several other regions of the state.
We are looking for Community Launch Sponsors, usually health care providers, to help expand transportation access in rural Missouri. For more information, contact Mary Gordon, HealthTran Director, at 573.616.2740.
Additional helpful transportation resources:
What Drives Us
“Without them, I would be without a leg now, I’m sure. I don’t know what I would have done. I would have been in deep, serious trouble.”
HealthTran Rider – Leo H. Short
Golden Valley Memorial Hospital and Clinics
Katy Trails Community Health Center
West Central Missouri Community Action Agency
Community Interagency Council (CIC) of West Plains, a nonprofit which also supports
Why should I partner with HealthTran?
You should partner with HealthTran if your rural community has limited transportation options to help patients get to and from health and wellness visits; if your organization has limited resources to address transportation barriers; and if patients are missing appointments due to transportation barriers.
How does partnering with HealthTran work?
In a nutshell, community launch sponsors (usually a health care provider) work with HealthTran to identify the need. HealthTran offers a personalized approach to address transportation challenges that prevent access to health care. Then, HealthTran augments existing transportation services with trained, insured volunteer drivers. With the use of technology, sponsors, riders, and drivers are connected to help with transportation coordination.
This program is supported by the University of Missouri School of Medicine, Missouri Rural Health Association, and the Health Resources and Services administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $19,461,609 with 10 percent financed with nongovernmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official view of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government