Getting to the Doctor

I hang up the phone, unable to think of anyone else to call. Each person I had talked with said they were busy. Don’t they realize I can’t just hop on a bus or drive myself? Don t my friends care? I groan in frustration. My next treatment appointment is tomorrow, and I have no way of getting to it.

My doctor told me it is important not to miss any scheduled treatments. Shouldn’t getting to treatment be part of the treatment, I ask myself. I don t want to, but I ll have to cancel. Again.

For Veterans, the largest barrier to healthcare access is transportation. It affects over 5 million Veterans.

Transportation barriers can lead to poor health outcomes. Worsening chronic illness, loss of care continuity, and rehospitalizations increase. The VA and other groups help Veterans overcome transportation barriers. They offer a range of services for a variety of circumstances.

Veterans Experiencing, or At Risk of Homelessness

VA Rideshare offers rides to Veterans enrolled in the VHA Homeless Program. Collaborating with Uber and Lyft, Rideshare provides rides to and from healthcare appointments. It also arranges rides home following discharge from care. Referrals are necessary. VA providers coordinate rides.

Access Rideshare by:

  • Calling the Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-424-3838, or
  • Visiting the closest VA medical center

Veterans Eligible for VA Health Care and Have a VA-authorized Appointment

Veterans Transportation Service (VTS) is a free service that may vary according to each VA authorized facility’s capabilities. Use the Select by State list to locate and contact a VTS site in your area. You can also use the VetRide app to find a site and schedule a ride.

Veterans Meeting Income and Disability Criteria

The Beneficiary Travel (BT) program reimburses certain travel expenses related to certain appointments for certain people. Covered costs may include mileage, car, plane, train, bus, taxi, or light rail. It may also cover special modes like ambulance, ambulette, or wheelchair van. Travel pay reimbursement is available for eligible caregivers.

Veterans Living in Counties with Less Than Seven People Per Square Mile

Highly Rural Transportation Grants (HRTG) make transportation services available through grants to local agencies that serve low population areas. To locate help near you, click the link and scroll to “Is an HRTG grantee located near me?”

Injured and Ill Veterans

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Need A Ride? program gives free rides to VA medical facilities. This is a volunteer service and unable to provide help in every community. Use the DAV Hospital Service Coordinator Directory for assistance.

When Care is Far Away and Money Unavailable

Angel Wings for Veterans provides free air and ground transportation when needed medical care is distant. Care includes PTS and TBI treatment, and service dog acquisition/training. Click here to review criteria and request help.

Medicaid Recipients

Per, state Medicaid agencies must provide transportation to recipients needing medical care. Contact your state program for help.

People Facing Financial Hardship and Underserved by Public Transportation

Ride United partners United Way’s 2-1-1 help network with community services. It provides free or discounted rides for people in need. Get help from Ride United by dialing 211 or visiting to locate 211 help near you.

Transportation should not be an obstacle to getting necessary medical care. Use available help to aid your best care.