By Sy Mukherjee
June 21, 2018

Ride sharing giant Lyft is offering cancer patients free rides—or at least effectively free for riders—to and from their treatments in 10 major U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, Miami, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Denver, St. Louis, and Atlanta.

The rides are part of an existing Lyft collaboration with the American Cancer Society (ACS), which will be covering the cost of the rides.

“The best treatment in the world can’t help someone if they can’t access it,” said Megan Wessel, a vice president at ACS, when the initial project was launched last fall. “Access to care is a big problem in our country, therefore transportation programs and partnerships like the one we are launching with Lyft in Miami-Dade County are vital for these patients to get the treatments they need and deserve.”

Patients seeking the free rides can coordinate with the American Cancer Society by calling 800-227-2345 or visiting www.cancer.org. ACS will then use the Lyft Concierge service to arrange a ride.

However, those who want to use the service are encouraged to book the trips several days in advance, and reminded that it can only be used for cancer-related medical appointments.

The American Cancer Society partnership isn’t Lyft’s only foray into medical transportation. (Competitor Uber also has a number of similar initiatives.) Last May, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) teamed up with Lyft to help people in isolated areas covered by certain Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plans get free rides to the hospital.

“Many Americans live in areas where medical care is beyond the reach of walking, biking or public transportation. As a result, they struggle to access critical health care services, even when they have health insurance,” said Dr. Trent Haywood, BCBSA chief medical officer and president of the BCBS Institute, in a statement at the time. “We are committed to addressing issues like transportation that are inextricably linked to health outcomes, yet can’t be tackled through health care resources alone.”

Correction: A previous version of this article stated the collaboration is part of the Road to Recovery program; it is not. The post has also been updated to specify that the American Cancer Society is paying the cost of the rides to Lyft.

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