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More than Just Care: Distance Demands Consideration

blurred photo of ambulance speeding down road

Social Determinants of Health 2 - Transportation

By Kris Roloff, quality care coordinator at Network Health
Originally published on 12/29/2021 at 1:30 p.m.

As we wrote in the previous article, social determinants of health are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.

Today, we’re going to examine transportation and our ability to get from point A to point B as a consideration that goes beyond simple quality of care.

Each year, close to four million people in the United States do not obtain medical care due to transportation issues. Transportation issues include lack of vehicle access, inadequate infrastructure, long distances/lengthy times to reach needed services, transportation costs and policies that negatively affect travel.

Transportation challenges affect both rural and urban communities.

Because transportation affects many aspects of a person’s life, adequate and reliable transportation services are fundamental to healthy communities. Transportation issues can affect a person’s access to health care services. These issues may result in missed or delayed health care appointments, increased health expenditures and overall poorer health outcomes.

Conversely, transportation can also be a vehicle for wellness.

When a person has access to reliable transportation, they have a means to access health care need, a way to get to employment and educational opportunities, an improved ability to connect with friends and family for social and recreational outings and a consistent method for accessing basic daily needs like grocery stores, pharmacies, and healthy food options.

What is offered in your area?  Contact your county’s ADRC (Aging and Disability Resource Center) for more information. 

Many health plans offer transportation options to help bridge the transportation gap. For more information on how your Wisconsin health plan can help you get the best access to quality health care, contact us today.

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