Lyft on Tuesday announced that it would partner with healthcare organizations such as Anthem, Epic, Centene, One Medical, Modern Health and other companies to facilitate rides to vaccination sites.
According to the company, the rides will be facilitated through multiple channels: Lyft Healthcare, which partners with systems and health plans to transport patients to and from medical appointments, and LyftUp, which allows corporate partners to donate ride credits.
“With the highly anticipated vaccine now rolling out across the country, we are pleased to be joining Lyft and other leading partners to ensure our nation’s most vulnerable consumers will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine,” said Gail K. Boudreaux, president and CEO at Anthem, in a statement.
WHY IT MATTERS
Questions have continued to loom around vaccine rollout logistics, as frontline healthcare workers begin to be inoculated against the novel coronavirus.
In anticipation of future phases, some companies are beginning to formulate plans for how best to get the vaccine into the arms of the broader public.
According to Lyft, the primary goal of this campaign will be to provide 60 million rides to and from vaccination sites for those who may face transportation or logistical hurdles.
The company notes that Lyft’s transportation network can provide access to care for those in communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including members of vulnerable populations who will be prioritized for early vaccine distribution. (Lyft did not immediately respond to requests for comment about what accessibility measures are in place for riders with disabilities.)
In addition to directly funding rides, Lyft says its corporate partners will leverage their customers and member networks to promote individual contributions to the campaign, and that community partners will route credits to those in need.
“We estimate that 15 million Americans will face transportation issues trying to get to vaccination sites. That’s where Lyft can make a difference,” said Megan Callahan, VP of Lyft Healthcare, in a statement.
THE LARGER TREND
Callahan told Healthcare IT News earlier this month that she anticipated that vaccine rollout and distributions will have lasting impacts. She also said Lyft is “talking to policymakers about getting them priority access to the vaccine.”
Rideshare companies have made a number of entrees into the digital health landscape in recent months, with Lyft rival Uber launching a prescription delivery service in August, and Lyft and Uber integrating with Epic and Cerner, respectively.
ON THE RECORD
“Access to reliable transportation represents a major barrier to care for millions of Americans across the country,” said Callahan. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this problem, creating a huge challenge in making sure vulnerable populations have access to the vaccine – especially for seniors living alone, low income workers and parents with young children.”