People

Travel Assistance for Patients in Need

In 2017, Southwest celebrated the 10-year anniversary of our Medical Transportation Grant Program (MTGP). For the past decade, we have partnered with nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation organizations throughout the country to grant them a designated number of complimentary roundtrips. Each organization then distributes tickets to the patients and caregivers who need them most.

In 2017, we touched more patients’ lives than ever, donating more than 10,000 roundtrip flights to almost 100 nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation charities located in 39 cities and 26 states. Those roundtrips were valued at more than $4 million.3232) Each roundtrip plane ticket is valued at $400.

“If it were not for the help from Southwest flying me, I would not be able to receive treatment.” —MTGP beneficiary

An Area of Need
Outreach Sr. Specialist Debbie Wafford, who oversees the program for Southwest, explains the needs of these patients. “Insurance will only take care of so much—and then it’s left to the patient and their family. This can put a huge financial and emotional burden on people who are already exhausted from fighting an illness. And, unfortunately, many patients who have rare illnesses have to travel quite often.”

Establishing the MTGP
We established the MTGP in order to address patients’ need for travel assistance in a more focused and efficient way. Since the program’s inception, we’ve donated more than $23.6 million in transportation for more than 59,000 patients and caregivers. “It’s grown each year—and we’re still finding more and more hospitals to participate,” says Debbie. “We started with just four hospitals. Now the program includes nearly 80.”

A Celebration of Purpose in Action
For Debbie, the connection to Southwest’s Purpose is clear. “Southwest believes in connecting People with what matters most in their lives. And, whether it’s you individually, a family member, or someone else you love, it’s so important to offer care for someone’s health.

Information about Southwest’s Medical Transportation Grant Program and a complete list of current program partners can be found at www.southwest.com/medicalgrant.

To apply for a grant, nonprofit hospitals and/or medical transportation organizations can find an application at the above website during the application season (August through September for the following grant year).

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