We’ve all had one of those days: we go out to start the car for work in the morning and all it does is growl at us. Or we’re driving the kids to soccer practice and we get a flat tire. It’s frustrating and inconvenient.
But what if you had no way to get to work, or take your daughter to soccer practice, or take your sick child to the doctor because you had no car? What do you do then? That was a question that many Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center patients had to ask themselves every day.
Rodgers Health delivers comprehensive health care in the areas of adult and senior medicine, well-woman and obstetrical care, pediatric and adolescent health, behavioral health, and oral health services for some of our community’s most medically and socially vulnerable families. Transportation is one of the many barriers our patients face, but it’s a barrier we thought we could help overcome.
In early 2017, Rodgers Health began doing research on a company called Circulation. Circulation, Inc. is a Boston-based company that provides a HIPAA-compliant, web-based scheduling platform that interacts with Lyft’s application program interface.
With the help of a grant from the Health Forward Foundation, we were able to contract with Circulation to provide our patients with rides to and from the health center.
The process works just like a standard call to Lyft for a ride. Patients can call Lyft directly, or they can call the health center (816.474.4920), and we’ll arrange the ride for them. Often, our patients will need to bring additional family members with them to an appointment. This may be because no child care is available, or because it is a cultural norm. We can arrange for a large passenger van to pick them all up at just the right time for them to make their appointment. If they need handicap accessible transportation, we can arrange that, as well.
In a five month period, Rodgers Health used Circulation to provide 1,343 rides to 333 patients. The rides were not just for health care visits with a provider, but for imaging and laboratory services, for a visit to WIC, or to pick up a prescription at our downtown campus. During that time, 94.6 percent of patients who completed a Circulation score card rated their driver at 5.
Rodgers Health discovered that nearly 5 percent of our behavioral health patients took advantage of transportation available to them, the highest percentage of any practice. During this time frame, missed appointments in our behavioral health practice decreased sharply.
The collaboration between Health Forward, Circulation, and Rodgers Health has helped families and children get the health care they need. If you’re interested in finding out more about Circulation, visit their website.
Editor’s note: During our 2017 Community Dialogue Project, many communities reported lack of transportation as a barrier to health. Health Forward is proud to partner with organizations, like Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center, that are finding creative solutions to remove barriers to health care. Read more about the results from our Community Dialogue Project.