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high gas leading to missed doctor visits

High Gas Prices Lead U.S. Residents Who Travel Far, Frequently for Medical Treatment To Skip, Delay Appointments

Many U.S. residents with illnesses who must travel frequently or long distances for treatment are forgoing, cutting back or delaying appointments and support groups or applying for grants to offset high gasoline prices, USA Today reports. According to USA Today, people who travel for treatment multiple times per week, such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or patients in need of dialysis, are the “hardest hit.” The average price of one gallon of gasoline in the U.S. on Wednesday was $3.68, about 90 cents higher than the price one year ago.

According to USA Today, Paratransit, a Sacramento, Calif.-based ride service for elderly and disabled patients that offers $4 rides to appointments, experienced an 11% increase over the number of projected ride requests. Mary Steinert, Paratransit’s deputy executive director, said, “People are going to depend on us more because their friends and family can’t afford to transport them in their cars.”

The American Kidney Fund, which offers dialysis patients transportation grants up to a maximum of $175 twice annually, has distributed 12,842 grants totaling $2.2 million through July, 31% more than in the same period in 2007. CancerCare, a patient support organization, in the last fiscal year has spent $4.1 million in patient assistance, $500,000 more than the previous fiscal year; 90% of the grants were for transportation. In addition, CancerCare Executive Director Diane Blum said some cancer patients are looking for physicians or treatment centers closer to home.

USA Today also profiled patients with psoriasis and ALS, and the effect higher gas prices has had on their treatments

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