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Research study

Mental Health Center kicks off national transportation study

Johnson County Mental Health Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday to kick off a national transportation pilot study.

County officials were joined by representatives from UnitedHealthcare and Dartmouth College — who will lead a year-long research pilot that looks at how mental health clients get to work, school and medical appointments.

The transportation pilot program will look at two questions:

  • Does on-demand transportation for clients result in fewer missed appointments, fewer emergency service needs and reduced healthcare costs?
  • Do interventions provided by consumer drivers through the use of transportation services lead to improved clinical outcomes that could be integrated into a clinical model of care?

In August, the Johnson County Commission approved the transportation pilot program.

United and Dartmouth selected Johnson County to participate in the study to examine the effects of transportation services provided to clients who are high-utilizers of Medicaid.

Currently, the Mental Health Center employs clients to serve as drivers as part of the Transportation Services Team. Based on United and Dartmouth’s research, Johnson County is the only local government in the United States to use this transportation model.

The study will compare groups of clients and their means of travel to medical appointments, mental health appointments, work and school.

The pilot will run from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018. A final report will be published following the study to determine whether the observed outcomes had statistical significance.