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Local company improving access to rural healthcare

Last updated on January 26, 2021

Transportation is a core social determinant of health or factor that impacts patient health that is not linked with disease burden or genetic makeup. The social determinants of health account for about 40 percent of patient health, according to a 2017 AHA report, meaning that supporting patient transportation can have a significant impact on patient wellness.

During patient wellness programs and chronic care management plans, consistent and reliable patient access to care is essential. Non-emergency medical transportation is a core solution to patient care access among populations facing transportation barriers like those across the rural southeast, which is why Mountain Area Transports set up shop in Macon County, North Carolina.

The AHA report noted that 3.6 million individuals – regardless of payer status – do not have access to medical care because they do not have transportation to appointments. Four percent of children miss medical appointments for that same reason. Additionally, transportation barriers serve as the third leading cause of missing a medical appointment.

Missed appointments impact both patient health and the healthcare revenue cycle. Patients who miss appointments may see their health and wellness deteriorate. As a result, healthcare costs can increase.

Non-emergency medical transportation includes transportation services offered to patients and healthcare consumers who face extraordinary barriers getting to their medical appointments.

Those barriers can be anything and can include not having a valid driver’s license, not having a working vehicle in the household, being unable to travel or wait for services alone, or having a physical, cognitive, mental, or developmental limitation.

Patients who manage a chronic illness, for example, need to attend their regular check-ins with their providers. These check-ins ensure the patient’s condition has not worsened and activate any kind of preventive care necessary to reduce the likelihood of a costly medical event. When a patient cannot attend these appointments, they are at risk of getting sicker and costing more healthcare dollars.

Mountain Area Transports works with residents to develop transportation plans and schedules around their appointment needs. Whether it is a long-term transportation plan or if there is bad winter weather and someone needs help getting to and from the doctor to avoid driving in the snow, Mountain Area Transports works with customers to get them to their needed appointments. 

Many patients who are insured through Medicaid, will receive non-emergency medical transportation as part of their insurance. Federal regulations say that Medicaid beneficiaries can get rides to and from providers when necessary. Generally, when you enroll in Medicaid, you will receive instructions about when a ride is necessary and how and when you can schedule a ride.

Mountain Area Transport is an approved ride service and is ready to help make sure you or a loved one gets to your next doctor appointment safe and on-time! For more information about non-emergency medical transportation in Western North Carolina and Georgia, contact Mountain Area Transports today at 828-332-3032 or email at

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