We expect it will provide much-needed support to 5,000 patients.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) has awarded $2 million to more than 130 health systems across the country to help alleviate the financial burden of transportation costs for cancer patients.
Cancer patients nationwide are struggling to overcome barriers to treatment, and this need is particularly urgent for people who are historically underserved. That's why we are using our Patient Support Rapid Impact Initiative funds to provide transportation grants to health systems around the U.S., in both urban and rural areas.
This funding is expected to assist 5,000 patients and provide approximately 70,000 rides to treatment. The assistance will be provided through gas cards, public transportation, ride share, or other on-demand transportation services. Each system will manage its own grant.
Each year, ACS typically serves under 6,000 cancer patients with transportation assistance through our existing transportation grants program. During 2020, the program provided more than 71,000 rides. A gap remains in many communities for cancer patients for whom transportation is a challenge. The newly awarded grants will provide a big boost to help address currently unmet needs.
Transportation assistance is only one way the American Cancer Society is working to improve patient outcomes. We also provide direct patient support through education, navigation, and lodging.
For cancer patients, lack of transportation creates significant barriers to receiving lifesaving treatment and is known to contribute to disparities in cancer outcomes. ACS patient support services—such as these transportation grants—fill critical gaps and are aligned to the ACS goal of improving lives.
Transportation is the third most commonly cited barrier to accessing health services for older adults. It is estimated that 3.6 million people in the U.S. do not obtain medical care due to transportation issues.
The American Cancer Society believes all people should have the opportunity to live a longer, healthier life free from cancer regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Achieving health equity requires the removal of barriers, including transportation, that prevent people from receiving the care and treatment they need.
"The American Cancer Society exists to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families through advocacy, discovery, and patient support. We are dedicated to reducing health disparities in cancer," said
Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of ACS and ACS CAN. "Health care disparities can affect every step of cancer care — from prevention and screening to the quality of life after cancer treatment. Disparities in care such as gaps in treatment due to lack of transportation can result in serious health consequences for patients."