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North Texas Transportation Program Expands For Veterans

VA Uber Health Connect helps local Veterans access transportation to medical centers
Photo: Bumble Dee | Shutterstock

A transportation program that assists local Veterans in accessing medical care is expanding to nine new Veteran Integrated Service Networks (VISN) and 60 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC). 

“This is a transformative program that offers our most vulnerable Veterans care — the moment they need it,” said Jason Cave, executive medical center director. “It also advances our ability to offer more accessible, equitable health care to our local Veteran community.”

VA Uber Health Connect launched as a pilot program in 2022 at ten VAMCs. The program provides supplemental transportation to veterans needing access to and from medical care. 

Through the pilot, the program completed more than 30,000 Uber rides across 408,529 miles between January and March 2022. 

A survey was then conducted between March 2022 to January 2023. It collected feedback from 2,300 Veterans. According to the survey results, 83% of Veterans stated they would not have been able to access their medical care without the program. 

"The VA Uber Health Connect Initiative bridges the transportation gap by ensuring Veterans have reliable transportation for their health care needs,” said Indra Sandal, national lead of VA Uber Health Connect. “By offering ride-sharing as an additional means of transportation, VA is helping Veterans receive access to the best and soonest possible care — while still achieving cost savings.”

According to program officials, the initiative has saved the VA an estimated $35 million. The savings are said to stem from faster emergency department and inpatient discharges. Additionally the program aims to help close the gap on 28,000 missed appointments. 

According to the American Hospital Association, 3.6 million people in the United States do not obtain medical care due to transportation challenges. 

Children, older adults and Veterans are especially vulnerable to transportation barriers due to social isolation, underlying medical conditions and have a greater need for frequent clinician visits.

This year, the program is expanding to nine new VISN and 60 VAMCs. Veterans or transportation teams interested in learning more about the program should contact their local facility.

For VA North Texas Health Care System Mobility Manager contact Sonequa Grubbs at [email protected]. For additional information, click here.