WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced the availability of $5.3 million in competitive grant funds to improve public transportation options that increase access to healthcare for those who lack good transportation choices.
“We know it can be challenging for many people to travel to medical appointments, and missing them can lead to re-hospitalizations and poorer health,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This new grant opportunity sets the stage for transit agencies and community organizations to develop local solutions that provide ladders of opportunity, improve health outcomes, and reduce health care costs.”
FTA’s Rides to Wellness Demonstration and Innovative Coordinated Access and Mobility Grants will help build partnerships between health, transportation and other service providers to develop strategies that connect patients with public transportation options. A Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) appeared in today’s Federal Register.
The grants will further FTA’s Rides to Wellness initiative, which emphasizes public transportation as a strategy for people to access health services, resulting in greater preventive care, fewer unnecessary hospital readmissions, and lower costs. The initiative focuses on improving outcomes for those with chronic conditions and ensuring that at-risk populations can get to wellness visits, healthy food, and community services.
In part to help people take advantage of the healthcare expansion made possible by the Affordable Care Act, Rides to Wellness Coordinated Access and Mobility grants will encourage partnerships between public transportation agencies and the healthcare industry to devise solutions to access challenges.
“We’re excited at this opportunity to fund creative ideas that will result in solutions to the healthcare transportation puzzle,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan, who launched the Rides to Wellness initiative last year. “We know that when people have consistent, affordable transportation options to get to their healthcare providers, they receive appropriate preventive care instead of using emergency rooms and suffer fewer costly setbacks.”
The grants will focus on communities demonstrating mobility management, technological solutions, and effective partnerships. Grant applicants must include participating groups with stakeholders from the transportation, healthcare and human service sectors.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, signed into law in December, authorizes a pilot program for innovative coordinated access and mobility that augments FTA’s Mobility for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities (Section 5310) Program. The FAST Act initiated the program with an initial $2 million in first-year funding, expanding to $3.5 million per year by Fiscal Year 2019. FTA supplemented the pilot program with funds from FTA’s Research Program.