Southwest Airlines to offer $3.2M in free medical flights

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SAN DIEGO — Southwest Airlines announced Tuesday that it will offer $3.2 million in free flights to families in need of specialized care at 101 facilities around the country, including two in San Diego.

Rady Children’s Hospital and Scripps Health are among the nonprofit healthcare institutions taking part in Southwest’s 2015 medical transportation grant program.

“We care about the communities we serve and are honored to partner with like-minded hospitals and medical transportation organizations,” said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines’ vice president of communication and outreach.

“We are proud to help fill the gap between where patients live and where the doctors they need practice so patients can receive the treatment that best supports them,” she said.

Airline officials said it will be easier for patients to get high-quality healthcare when they don’t have to worry about transportation costs. The $3.2 million total is 14 percent higher than last year.

Families interested in participating in the 8-year-old program are asked to contact their hospital’s social work, travel/concierge or patient assistance offices, according to Southwest.

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