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and review veterans' mobility issues as an opportunity for serving future markets. In addition to the worksheets in the form of tables, the report is also includes a self-assessment tool for transportation providers and program managers. MISCONCEPTIONS CONCERNING VETERANS' MOBILITY AND THEIR TRANSPORTATION SERVICES There are five key misconceptions about veterans' mobility and their transportation services. 1. Transportation programs offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs meet all the transportation needs of veterans. 2. Volunteer driver programs meet most of the mobility needs of veterans. 3. Community transportation providers reach out to the veterans' community to collaborate on transportation programs much like they work with groups representing older adults, individuals with disabilities, and low- income families. 4. Veterans must always be transported to medical facilities in small (or large) vehicles. 5. Veterans who cannot be treated in one VAMC must be transported to another VAMC and cannot be treated at a local non-VA site. These misconceptions are discussed and clarified below. Misconception # 1: Transportation Programs Offered Through the Department of Veterans Affairs Meet All the Transportation Needs of Veterans Transportation programs affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs can only serve veterans with specific trip purposes and destinations. They primarily transport veterans to VAMCs or other veteran-related facilities but not to other destinations. There is a growing need for community transportation providers and professionals to work with veterans and to provide necessary trips to private doctors, social and recreational engagement, health and nutrition sites, and volunteer activities. 58
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Misconception # 2: Volunteer Driver Programs Meet Most of the Mobility Needs of Veterans Volunteer drivers affiliated with Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) have been heavily involved in medical transportation. Voluntary Service Office within the Veterans Affairs reported that 10,000 volunteer drivers transported veterans to VAMCs nationwide. However, nearly all volunteer-based programs exclude accessible vehicles from their operations, meaning that veterans with high-level mobility needs may not be able to receive services through these programs. Veterans who require accessible vehicles for local trips and nonmedical trips could benefit from community transportation programs such as those provided by human service transportation agencies or local public paratransit services. Misconception # 3: Community Transportation Providers Reach Out to the Veterans' Community to Collaborate on Transportation Programs Much Like They Work with Groups Representing Older Adults, Individuals with Disabilities, and Low-Income Families Levels of collaboration and coordination between human service agencies and community transportation providers have increased substantially over the years. Different models have developed to make coordination cost-efficient and to avoid service duplication. Unlike other transportation-disadvantaged populations, veterans do not seem to be a primary service market for community transportation. Veterans, however, are very likely to experience mobility barriers similar to those of other high-need groups due to disability status, old age, or low income. Both community transportation programs and VSOs need to work together to devise transportation programs that are mutually beneficial to all parties. Community transportation programs can increase their volume of trips by serving veterans, thus increasing revenues, and VSOs can purchase professional transportation services, often with reduced fees due to economies of scale. Misconception # 4: Veterans Must Always Be Transported to Medical Facilities in Small (or Large) Vehicles Some persons may automatically associate medical transport with vans. That is a common practice. However, that might not be the most efficient way, especially if large numbers of veterans are traveling long distances together. On the other hand, larger vehicles are more expensive to acquire 59