Rural Community Perspectives on Transportation and Health

2 Min Read

Jun 30, 2022


Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Healthworks, Kansas Hospital Association, Kansas Health Institute


Key Points

    • Lack of transportation was identified as a barrier to accessing healthcare services for many rural population groups.
    • Transportation challenges experienced by rural communities include limited funding, bus driver labor shortages and lack of vehicle access, especially among immigrant populations and households with incomes below the federal poverty level.
    • Specialty care, such as dialysis or cancer treatment, is often not available in rural communities, and a lack of transportation is often a barrier to receiving these services in other counties.
    • It is important to understand community and patient needs when developing effective strategies around transportation.
    • While some communities rely on volunteers to support transportation services, there is concern about the long-term sustainability of this approach due to burnout and a lack of volunteers, as well as the need for training and liability protections.
    • Some communities focus on securing funds through Medicaid reimbursement for transportation services, using 340B funds, or working with community champions to leverage local, state and federal funds.


Kansans in rural communities often must travel great distances to meet healthcare, social and occupational needs. Transportation challenges in these communities may contribute to increases in health disparities and health inequities.

To learn more about how transportation challenges impact the health of rural Kansans, the Kansas Office of Primary Care and Rural Health at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Healthworks, the Kansas Hospital Association, and the Kansas Health Institute worked together on a project to gain community perspectives. The resulting issue brief Rural Community Perspectives on Transportation and Health, looks at impacted populations, potential solutions, funding mechanisms and needed supports.

For more information on this subject see Critical Access Hospital Transportation, an earlier report from this project by the Community Engagement Institute at Wichita State University, which focused on transportation barriers and solutions in rural communities.

About Kansas Health Institute

The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.

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