Launched in May 2019, the prenatal trip assistance (PTA) program called Rides for Baby serves 8 communities in the Columbus, OH area and provides non-emergency transportation (NEMT) for expectant mothers.
The program is a part of the Smart Columbus program, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Transit’s Smart City Challenge. The various initiatives housed within the Smart Columbus program are divided into three categories: enabling technologies, emerging technologies and enhanced human services. The PTA program falls in the enhanced human services category. Other project partners include The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Caresource, Molina Healthcare, StepOne, Physicians CareConnection, and CelebrateOne.
The aim of the PTA program is to develop and implement a software application to enable NEMT trips for pregnant women. Women who qualify for the program must be enrolled in Medicaid and reside in one of the 8 designated high-risk neighborhoods, and they are able to receive free transportation to prenatal and post-partum medical appointments. These 8 neighborhoods were determined as a result of a study analyzing patterns of infant deaths in the county, carried out by CelebrateOne, a division of the Mayor’s office.
Women using the service can schedule NEMT services by creating a trip request and entering information about their trip, including origin and destination address and additional needs. The PTA program aims to improve health outcomes for expecting women and their children by increasing access to appointments.