Transportation Initiatives: Bringing Rural Arkansans Directly to the Health Services They Need
When was the last time you went to the doctor? If you’re like many people in rural Arkansas, it’s been too long. No matter how healthy you think you are, it’s important to visit the doctor at least once a year. Only then can you hope to catch heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other dangerous but treatable chronic illnesses in time.
The good news is that 72 percent of Arkansans say they have visited a doctor within the past year. The bad news? That means 28 percent haven’t! What’s more, a full 9 percent say it’s been at least 5 years since they’ve seen a doctor, and just over one percent have never had a doctor’s visit. Altogether, this means that nearly a million Arkansans aren’t getting the care they need to catch diseases early and stay healthy.
Arkansans who fail to visit the doctor each year aren’t ignorant or irresponsible. Many understand how important it is to get care and would gladly seek it, but simply don’t have access. This is a particularly serious problem in rural parts of the state, which are often dozens or even hundreds of miles from major hospitals and clinics.
What’s more, people who live in rural communities tend to have lower incomes and fewer resources compared to those in cities and suburbs, meaning they don’t have as much money or time to spend seeking care. The end result is that many rural Arkansans want to see the doctor but have no way of doing so.
Arkansas Family Health Foundation is committed to eliminating this and all other barriers to care. As part of our effort to promote community health in Arkansas, we fund transportation services that reach even the most remote communities. Our vans will pick patients up at a spot convenient to them, transport them to the doctor’s office, pharmacy, or other medical facility, and take them back. Thus no matter where you live in Arkansas, you’ll have no trouble getting a checkup, refilling your medication, or otherwise keeping yourself healthy.