Patients will be able to get transportation to their visits with the help of Uber Health.
One of the challenges that face some Mississippians who need health care is simply finding a way to get to their appointments. If they don’t have a vehicle or the ability to drive and can’t afford to pay for a private service to make the trip, these people might have to skip out on important visits that could positively impact their quality of life.
For those who have appointments with their county health department, a new program is improving access through a partnership with Uber Health. By using an Uber ride that is paid for by the state to get to their appointment, more people should be able to get health care without putting undue stress on their finances.
The beauty of using Uber for this purpose is that the network of drivers and their vehicles already exists and doesn’t need to be built out. Many people have used Uber or could easily get started doing so, meaning the state doesn’t have to develop a new system from scratch to get people the rides they need.
The rate of people not showing up for healthcare appointments in various locations around Mississippi has been steadily rising, and some of that increase is known to be due to transportation problems. As much as $1 million will be spent by the Mississippi State Health Department to provide rides to those in need, and that money is going to come from a federal grant that was secured.
Part of what Uber is going to bring to the table in this program is helping to raise awareness to make sure patients know that they can reach out for a free ride. Those who have been struggling to get to their appointments might not be aware that free transportation is now offered, so they might not look around for options. Uber is not only tasked with helping more people learn about the program, but they are also asked to help with driver availability to make sure their app can deliver rides when needed.
One of the exciting things about this program is what it could mean for not only Mississippians but for people in many other places across the country. If it is successful in Mississippi, more and more states are sure to look for funding sources to offer similar benefits and help people get to the doctor. Beyond Uber, Lyft is also getting into the business of providing healthcare rides, so there are likely to be plenty of options moving forward for these kinds of programs.
It’s always good news when people can get the health care they need to address pressing issues and position themselves for lasting health into the future. This contract with Uber Health to get people from parts of Mississippi to their appointments more reliably won’t completely solve the problem, but it should mean that many more people are able to get to the doctor instead of having to skip over care entirely.