April 20, 2016; Healthcare Finance

Southwest Airlines has released an announcement that 73 nonprofit hospitals and transportation charities will be partners in this year’s $3.2 million Medical Transportation Grant Program (MTGP). The nonprofits are among 100 recipients listed for 2016 on the program’s webpage.

MTGP was created to provide complimentary transportation vouchers to hospitals and transportation providers across the U.S., which will then pass them on to those in need. Eighty-six total hospitals located across 28 states will receive round-trip travel vouchers to distribute to patients, their families, and caregivers forced to travel due to serious medical problems. Each hospital sets the criteria for its own unique program and establishes processes to distribute the round-trip vouchers to respective patient families and caregivers.

The goal of Southwest Airlines is to help ensure that families receiving specialized medical care or treatment feel relief during overwhelming financial and emotional burden. “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.

In 2015, the MTGP grant was also $3.2 million and Southwest Airlines named 101 medical facilities as program partners. The airline has distributed over $19.6 million since the program was first implemented in 2007 and selects hospitals and transportation charities through an online application process that is posted on their website annually.—Michelle Lemming