NEMT: The Value of a Full Spectrum of Vehicles

Zack Worsham

Rideshare has undoubtedly made a tremendous impact on how we access daily life, and as a result, it’s positively impacting the way people access their healthcare as well. But while many people find it easy to use an Uber or Lyft to get to a medical appointment, other forms of transportation are also needed, particularly for those who have limited to no mobility. This reality shows that the conversation about non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) should always include a full range of transportation options to be inclusive of all members of society. In some instances, many states require that NEMT providers have specific licenses and that the associated transport personnel have the appropriate licenses as well (e.g., a chauffeur’s license or equivalent).

Beyond that, streamlined NEMT service is critical for minimizing wait times and improving patient flow. Many surveys have found that long wait times are a detriment to patient satisfaction and lead to lower ratings for health systems. In the outpatient setting, long wait times can occur when patients are late for their appointments, causing the physician’s schedule to back up. In the hospital, patients who do not have a ride post-discharge prevent hospital staff from cleaning and turning the room over. According to the 9th Annual Vitals Wait Time Report, which reviewed the state of patient wait times from 2008 through 2017, 84% of respondents stated that a reasonable wait time is “somewhat to very important” to a quality experience. Another 30% of respondents noted that they had left appointments because their wait times were too burdensome

With an appropriate level of specialized transportation, all patients can arrive at their appointments with consistency, and be discharged or transferred at the desired time. This means that hospital beds or routine checkup rooms can be filled and then opened again for more patients in a timelier manner. In the event of a delay, care coordinators can use Roundtrip to track the status of a ride, helping plan capacity and flow

Ultimately, healthcare transportation can include but should not be limited to rideshare. Through Roundtrip’s digital transportation marketplace, we connect patients with NEMT that includes rideshare, medical sedans, wheelchair vans, stretcher vehicles, and ALS/BLS ambulances exactly when and where they need it. In a world of diverse transportation uses cases across the patient spectrum, efforts should also be focused on providing the right mode of transportation for every patient, including the most vulnerable who require specialized services.