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Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems
The University of Maine Center on Aging (CoA) in collaboration with members of the Eastern Maine Transportation Collaborative (EMTC) conducted a twelve month needs assessment focusing on the challenges and barriers that older adults face in accessing chronic care medical services such as diabetes care, cancer care, dialysis, cardiac rehabilitation, and physical therapy in Hancock, Washington, and Penobscot Counties. The assessment was conducted through phone interviews, surveys, and community case studies. Participants included older adult chronic care patients, escorts and family members accompanying patients to chronic care appointments, medical office schedulers, and transportation providers. The goals of the assessment were to discover health transportation challenges and establish means to coordinate such transportation. It was concluded that patients travelled at least ten miles one way to chronic care appointments, and many reported needing rides weekly. Forty-seven percent of participants stated that they would pay three to five dollars for transportation to medical visits. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they would utilize transportation services, and 60 percent reported not knowing about such resources in their community. Schedulers noted that major challenges included not having the time or information to discuss transportation services, and many have cancellations weekly or monthly due to lack of transportation. Through assessment of transportation providers, 71 percent of them charge a flat fee along with additional fees, which is expensive for patients to travel to medical appointments. Many recommendations were established, such as education of services, linking of services, and assistance in transportation programs.
University of Maine Center on Aging, "The Eastern Maine Transportation Collaborative’s (EMTC) Health Services Initiative Needs Assessment Research Final Report" (2005). Maine Center on Aging Research and Evaluation. 19.
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