Greater Columbia Accountable Community of Health (GCACH) created seven Local Health Improvement Networks (LHINs) to strategically address the Social Determinants of Health that are most critical in their respective counties within the Greater Columbia region. Each LHIN works with third-party administrators to provide grant funding to the community-based organizations that deliver services on the needs that have been identified for their community.
This month we’d like to highlight the third-party administrator Pullman Regional Hospital Foundation.
The Pullman Regional Hospital Foundation awarded COAST Transportation funding to support transportation assistance programs within Whitman County. The grant funds on-demand public transportation services for Whitman County, with a non-Medicaid particular transportation need for health or social services rides. This funding has had a significant impact on COAST Transportation's customer services. One example of this impact is shared below.
The conditions in which a person lives and ages contributes to their health more than any other factor. While medical care receives the most funding and legislative attention, studies have consistently shown its small relative impact on health when compared to the social determinants.
A living example of this is an elderly widow living in the small northern Whitman County town of Rosalia. As we will call her, Ellen is 85 years old and lives in the house that she and her late husband built nearly 50 years ago. Due to her eyesight and other age-related health issues, she no longer drives but has no problem living a satisfying life because she uses COAST Transportation as a mobility lifeline. "COAST affects me in a big way," Ellen stated as she highlighted some of the places and events she attends. "Of course, I need rides to medical appointments, pharmacy stops, senior meals, and food," Ellen said. "But what I cherish the most is COAST's willingness to take me to other places, like community events, celebrations, and other shopping trips with my senior neighbors and friends." Ellen does not have family in the area who can support her transportation needs, so she relies on COAST to allow her the freedom to live in the home and community she chooses and not be forced to move into a retirement center or nursing home in a distant city. "I want to stay here as long as I'm able," Ellen emphasized. "COAST lets me do that."
We are grateful to the GCACH for the opportunity to fund such projects that impact our community. – Becky Highfill