U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) administers a wide range of agencies and programs around issues of social, mental, physical health and well-being, aging, environmental health, and research. Since access to transportation can be directly related to the accessibility of health, education, and well-being services, some HHS agencies have become involved in rural transportation programs or funding.
Administration for Children and Families
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) provides funding, training, and technical assistance to state, local, and tribal governments, as well as human services providers, whose goal is to support the economic and social health of children and their families.
Head Start is a federal program that provides early childhood education and other social services to low-income families with young children and families of children with disabilities. For some rural communities, Head Start may be the primary option for preschool-aged children and their families to receive services like early childhood education and health screenings that will support healthy development and prepare them for kindergarten. Agencies receiving funding for Head Start programming are not required to provide transportation services to children whose families would not otherwise have access, but individual programs can choose to do so if there is a significant need for it in the community. Additionally, programs may coordinate with other community organizations to ensure eligible children are able to attend school.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides health insurance for over 100 million Americans through Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Health Insurance Marketplace. It also manages a range of programs designed to improve healthcare quality and reduce costs.
Medicaid is the national health insurance program for low-income people or people living with disabilities. Medicaid covers 21% of rural residents (compared to 16% of urban residents). In addition to medical services, Medicaid also covers many supportive health services like non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT). The NEMT benefit ensures that people will have transportation to medically-necessary appointments. Some states limit the number of trips a person can take each month.