The NEMT Industry

Ankit Mathur

Under the current system for non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT), patients are not routinely receiving timely transportation and transportation providers are consistently losing potential business.

The Problem

For polled suppliers, the medical transportation industry efficiency averages a startling 0.35 Unit Hour Utilization. That means for every ten-hour shifts that an NEMT driver is on the road, only 3.5 hours are spent transporting a patient or generating revenue. Nearly two-thirds of available transport time expires, every shift, every day. At the same time, 3.6 million patients needing NEMT are arriving late to appointments, missing appointments, or spending hours at facilities waiting to get home every year. Why is there such a disconnect in the system?

  1. Burdensome Process: Most patients who await transfer to or from a medical facility are transported by an NEMT provider, which can include taxis and medical car vendors, wheelchairs, stretcher vans, and ambulance services. Care managers at healthcare facilities often manage the transportation ordering process, especially for patients who are wheelchair or bed-confined. When a transportation need arises, a care manager usually has to manually phone one or more transportation providers and share the intended pickup time and necessary patient information, a process that can take up hours of their day.
  2. Supply Fragmentation: The majority of experienced, credentialed medical transportation providers in the market are small organizations that have on average 7 or 8 vehicles that service a few local contracts. In Philadelphia alone, there are over 40 NEMT providers and hospitals that contract with an average of 2-4 different providers for their patient transportation needs. As a result, relationship silos exist, forcing a highly inefficient hub-and-spoke request and return model for the providers.
  3. No Direct Quality of Control: For requestors of such service, factors of differentiation between companies have become more difficult to recognize. Just as one may not be able to easily differentiate between two competing taxi companies, so too is the case for most medical transportation providers. This means that the highest-quality providers are not recognized as such.

The Solution

Roundtrip addresses each of these industry hurdles through its digital, on-demand ride scheduling platform. Care managers can schedule trips in minutes and monitor them in real time. Roundtrip dispatches each trip to a network of credentialed medical transportation providers, supporting increased efficiency and helping to expand the number of healthcare facilities that transportation providers can support. Most importantly, Roundtrip’s feedback system realigns driver incentives with patients and focuses on increasing transparency and accountability, leaving everyone a winner.