Access to Transportation and Health Care Visits for Medicaid Enrollees With Diabetes: Medicaid Transportation and Diabetes Visits


Leela V. Thomas

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

The Journal of Rural Health

Publication Date



Purpose Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires frequent health care visits for its management. Individuals without nonemergency medical transportation often miss appointments and do not receive optimal care. This study aims to evaluate the association between Medicaid-provided nonemergency medical transportation and diabetes care visits. Methods A retrospective analysis was conducted of demographic and claims data obtained from the Oklahoma Medicaid program. Participants consisted of Medicaid enrollees with diabetes who made at least 1 visit for diabetes care in a year. The sample was predominantly female and white, with an average age of 46.38 years. Two zero-truncated Poisson regression models were estimated to assess the independent effect of transportation use on number of diabetes care visits. Findings Use of nonemergency medical transportation is a significant predictor of diabetes care visits. Zero-truncated Poisson regression coefficients showed a positive association between the use of transportation and number of visits (0.6563, P < .001). Age, gender, race/ethnicity, area of residence, and presence of additional chronic conditions had independent associations with number of visits. Older enrollees were likely to make more visits than younger enrollees with diabetes (0.02382); controlling for all other factors in the model, rural residents made more visits than urban; women made fewer visits than men (-0.09312; P < .001); and minorities made fewer visits than whites, with pronounced differences for Hispanics and Asians compared to whites. Conclusions Findings underscore the importance of ensuring transportation to Medicaid populations with diabetes, particularly in the rural areas where the prevalence of diabetes and complications are higher and the availability of medical resources lower than in the urban areas.