WASHINGTON STATE - The following video presents opening statements from the Washington State University (Vancouver) Center for Social and Environmental Justice Spring 2010 Conference Session: Impact of Transportation Gaps on Health Care Access in Clark and Cowlitz Counties. Panel participants include: Steve Kutz of the Cowlitz Tribal Health Clinic, Carrie Vanzant of the SEAMAR Community Clinic, Walt Gordon of C-TRAN, BJ Jacobson of the Human Services Council, and Axel Swanson of the Washington State DOT Regional Transportation Planning Organization. Host of the presentation is Paul Theirs from the WSU Vancouver, Center for Social and Environmental Justice. Although they are discussing their particular experiences in the Clark and Cowlitz Counties area of southwestern Washington State, many of the issues touched could happen just about anywhere: such as lack of co-ordination between transit districts, long trips, unserviced areas, poor service for disadvantaged rural populations, and inadequacies of transportation systems to respond to unique needs of people who have special needs. One presenter summed it up this way: we need to start seeing transportation to medical appointments as part of preventative health care. When seen only as public transport, the cost seems large, but when included as part of the total health care costs, it's not that much, but it's a small amount that can make a great deal of difference in lowering over all health care costs. Providing transport for people to access to health care can reduce expensive hospital stays because people are receiving the help they need to stay well and in the community.
VIDEO: Impact of Transportation on Health Care Access in Clark & Cowlitz Co.