Markey Receives ACS Grant to Remove Transportation Barriers for Patients

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 21, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has been awarded a transportation grant from the American Cancer Society. The funds will help alleviate the financial burden of transportation costs for cancer patients in Kentucky.

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 27,710 residents of Kentucky will be diagnosed with cancer this year. For these patients, lack of transportation can create a significant barrier to receiving lifesaving treatment and is known to contribute to disparities in cancer outcomes.

To help patients get the critical care they need, American Cancer Society community transportation grants are awarded at a local level to health systems, treatment centers and community organizations. These grants are available in select communities through an application process and focus on addressing unmet transportation needs of cancer patients, particularly vulnerable populations experiencing an unequal burden of cancer.

Each year, the American Cancer Society typically serves about 6,000 cancer patients with transportation assistance through the existing transportation grants program. During 2020, the program provided more than 71,000 rides. But a gap remains in many communities for cancer patients for whom transportation is a challenge.

“The American Cancer Society supports services — such as these transportation grants — fill critical cancer gaps and are aligned to the American Cancer Society goal of improving lives of patients and their families,” said Kathy Goss, Ph.D., regional vice president of Cancer Control at the American Cancer Society. “The newly awarded grant funding provides a boost of support to help address currently unmet needs in Kentucky.”

This is the third time the UK Markey Cancer Center has been awarded this grant. With the last award in 2020, nearly 430 rides were given to patients across central and eastern Kentucky.

“Access to care is critical for cancer patients who may be too fatigued or sick to drive themselves,” said Joan Scales, program director for Markey’s Psych-Oncology Services. “Unfortunately, access to care is a big problem in our country and it has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Low-income people of color and those living in rural communities are the hardest hit by disparities. Transportation services are vital for these patients to get the treatment they need and deserve.”

Transportation is the third most-commonly cited barrier to accessing health services for older adults. Every year, 3.6 million people in the United States do not obtain medical care due to transportation issues. Transportation issues include lack of vehicle access, inadequate infrastructure, long distances and lengthy times to reach needed services, transportation costs, and adverse policies that affect travel.

If you need assistance and believe you may qualify for help, please contact UK Markey Cancer Center Psych-Oncology Services at 859-323-2798.