Atlanta, GA,
09:14 AM

Southwest Airlines Awards Medical Transportation Grant to Shepherd Center

Patients and family members will benefit from donated airline tickets.

Southwest Airlines announced today that Shepherd Center is one of 73 nonprofit hospitals and medical organizations nationwide that will benefit from the company’s 2016 Medical Transportation Grant Program.

This is the fourth year in a row that Shepherd Center has received the grant, which enables the hospital to provide complimentary, round-trip 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.

Receiving world-class medical attention is more attainable when the cost of travel is not an issue, according to Southwest Airlines, which is providing more than $3.2 million in free transportation to caregivers and patients seeking medical treatment. Shepherd Center will receive $60,000 worth of free travel – in the form of 300 one-way vouchers – for patients and families for 2016. The full list of organizations receiving grants in 2016 is available here. Since the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program's inception in 2007, more than $19.6 million in free transportation has been distributed to organizations in 26 states.

"Southwest Airlines has a nearly 45-year tradition of treating our Employees and Customers like family. Families support each other during both good and challenging times, and we're honored to be able to serve our communities during a time of great need," said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines Vice President and Chief Communications Officer. "The opportunity to connect someone to the things that are most important in their life drives us to find a network of hospitals and organizations that support this mission and provide the best possible treatment to their patients."

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!"

About Shepherd Center

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 neurological 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 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.