Michigan Medicine serves as partner on new health care transportation service in Livingston County

September 11, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership

Livingston County is taking a major step toward improving health equity for residents through a collaborative partnership to increase access to needed resources and health care services.

The Livingston Essential Transportation Service (LETS) is launching a new health care-focused transportation service this fall thanks to a three-year funding commitment from Michigan Medicine, St. Joseph Mercy Health System and Ascension Providence Health System.

By providing adequate, reliable and affordable transportation, more members of the community will have better access to services and vital care at facilities such as Michigan Medicine’s hospitals and health centers.

The Livingston County Health Department’s 2015-2020 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) identified health care integration and transportation as high-priority issues for improving the health and well-being of Livingston County residents. The CHIP process established a Health Care Integration workgroup that includes representatives from the three major health systems, LETS and the Health Department. This group works to develop options to improve access to health care services, by focusing on the “bigger picture” — the social determinants of health, which are the conditions that effect how people live, work and play.

The health care systems funding the new service agree that transportation remains one of the biggest barriers that residents face when trying to access medical care and other social determinants of health. This collaboration ensures that residents can get to medical appointments and allows for greater capacity within LETS to expand ride service for other basic needs, like employment and access to healthy food.

The door-to-door transportation service will specifically focus on transportation to and from medical appointments, pharmacy visits, on-demand emergency department discharges and other activities that fulfill the mission of improving health and wellness. Adding two new wheelchair-accessible, full-size vans and two full-time drivers to its fleet allows LETS to maintain regular services to the community. The new vans will be designed to feature the logos of LETS and the three health systems to make them easily identifiable to the public.

The service is expected to begin in October.