Southwest Airlines Again Awards Medical Transportation Grant to Shepherd Center
Travel vouchers allow patients and families to be together during rehabilitation.
Shepherd Center is among 79 hospitals across the United States to receive a medical transportation grant from Southwest Airlines.
In 2007, Southwest Airlines proudly launched the Medical Transportation Grant Program (MTGP) to help provide nonprofit hospitals and medical organizations across the nation, like Shepherd Center, with tickets for patients and/or caregivers. Travel is often a critical part of getting patients the medical care they need, while allowing family members to be present. The goal of this program is to help alleviate travel expenses for those affected during this stressful time. The grant enables Shepherd Center to provide complimentary airline tickets to families in need so they can travel to be with their loved one undergoing specialized spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation care at Shepherd Center.
The 2018 MTGP recipients includes 79 hospitals across the United States, including three hospitals that are brand new to the program this year. By partnering with these hospitals and organizations, MTGP will reach a total of 100 facilities across the United States — spanning 41 different cities in 26 states. Shepherd Center alone received 400 one-way vouchers for patients and family members to use with an approximate value of $80,000.
Anna Elmers, M.D., a staff physiatrist at Shepherd Center, emphasizes how important it is to a patient's recovery to have their loved ones nearby.
"Southwest Airlines' Medical Transportation Grant Program has been a wonderful way of allowing family members to see their loved ones who are undergoing rehabilitation at Shepherd Center," she said. "Having loved ones near provides the patient with important emotional support during their recovery. We are so thankful for our partnership with Southwest!"
Since MTGP’s inception in 2007, more than 69,000 tickets for air travel — valued at more than $27.6 million—have been donated to nonprofit hospitals and medical organizations. Southwest is proud to help provide this necessary transportation and have the opportunity to positively impact patients and caregivers around the country.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 935 inpatients, 541 day program patients and more than 7,300 outpatients each year.