Rural Transportation and Health

photo of rural Missouri highway

Rural communities in Missouri rely on a combination of private and public modes of transportation to access health care and health care services. These communities are often miles from critical community resources, such as hospitals, grocery stores, and pharmacies. For most residents, a private vehicle is the primary mode of travel. Public transit options include regional bus systems, paratransit for individuals with a disability, non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) available to Medicaid enrollees, taxis, and other ride-sharing services. Despite these options, access to health care continues to be a significant challenge due to time, cost, as well as the limited availability of transportation and health care providers. To seek some services, an individual may need to travel more than a hundred miles round trip to see a health care provider.