Ride United program connected people to essential health care

By Regence
August 07, 2023
Rides United

According to a recent study, reliable transportation is a significant social driver of health in the United States. In 2022, 5% of all U.S. adults reported skipping health treatment because of transportation issues, demonstrating that when people don’t have access to reliable transportation, their health suffers.

Similarly, during the pandemic, transportation was a barrier for some people seeking COVID-19 vaccinations. To meet this need, United Way and United 211 in the Greater Salt Lake area expanded their Ride United program. As part of the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign, Lyft provided the use of its platform to facilitate rides, and Regence provided funding to cover the cost of rides.

As the community's needs changed, the program expanded to provide rides not only to vaccine appointments but also to other health-related appointments such as doctor visits and prescription pick-ups at the pharmacy.

From April 1, 2021, to April 30, 2023, investments from Regence directly enabled 9,235 rides, helping more than 1,500 community members in need of transportation throughout the Greater Salt Lake City region, including more vulnerable groups like the elderly, families with young children and people with disabilities.

"We know that there are multiple factors that contribute to whole-person health, including access to transportation, which is critical to receiving essential services and supports," said Peggy Maguire, president of Regence’s corporate foundation. "That’s why we were excited to partner with Lyft to help people receive the care they needed. We were honored to play our part in keeping Utahans and their communities healthy through our support of the Ride United program."

Here are a few examples of how this program helped people get needed health care:

  • Luna’s son needed an ultrasound on his kidneys, but she didn’t know how he was going to get to the appointment. When her health clinic told her about the Ride United program, she called right away. Her favorite part of getting a ride to and from the appointment was that the driver dropped her off right in front of her door. She didn’t have to walk a long way.
  • An elderly couple, who both used wheelchairs, could no longer drive due to injuries. They learned about Ride United from a home care nurse and were relieved that they found a transportation option for when their daughter was unable to take them to medical appointments.
  • Lan had a traumatic brain injury from a car accident. She ended up in another accident when she tried to drive again. She was worried about getting to her medical appointments now that she couldn't drive. Lan was grateful when her doctor suggested using Ride United to get to appointments so her medical care could continue uninterrupted.

Typically, 20% of adults without access to a car or public transit defer medical care. Accordingly, 87.9% of ride participants with Ride United stated that they utilized the service because they didn’t own a vehicle. As the Ride United team continued raising awareness for the service and increasing utilization of the program, it became apparent that the ride service was filling a largely unmet need for individuals seeking substance use disorder treatment.

At Regence, we support the communities we serve through financial investments, employee volunteerism, board service and more. Visit our website to learn more. To learn more about Ride United, visit their website.