It is not uncommon for a patient to have to travel out of their immediate area to get the care that they need. These persons may not have family members or friends who can provide transportation for them. They may not own a vehicle or have the finances to pay for transportation services. Therefore, long-distance travel to a healthcare provider can significantly increase the patient’s medical expenses. Long-distance non-emergency medical transportation may be their only hope of getting the care they need.
Who Needs Non-Medical Transportation?
Elderly handicapped patients may live at home alone and not have much contact with persons outside of their home until they go to their medical appointment. It is important that these persons have someone who they can trust and feel safe with. Often, these elderly patients depend on the same company to provide them with transportation on a regular basis for their routine appointments. Having someone medically trained, who can handle various medical situations to transport is very important.
In addition to the elderly patient, other reasons why patients may need transportation is to go to physical therapy, outpatient mental health care, and different types of appointments. Most non-emergency medical transportation companies have vans large enough to transport several patients at once. They may also have sufficient room for a family member to accompany the patient. Modern non-medical transport companies may have conveniences such as TV, DVD, and WIFI. These amenities are especially helpful on long-distance trips.
Non-emergency medical transportation companies also offer rides for disabled or senior citizens who wish to carry out personal errands, personal shopping trips, social calls, and more. Many companies provide same-day transportation services that can be scheduled by calling a central dispatch number or scheduled through the company’s website.
Who provides the non-emergency medical transportation services?
Several companies and organizations offer non-emergency medical transportation services to senior citizens, persons who are handicapped, disabled, chronically ill, and mentally challenged. Some are companies that conduct the service for profit, others are non-profit agencies or volunteer organizations. Recently, non-medical transportation has been offered by taxi companies and ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft.
In 2016, Uber entered into a partnership with a Boston-based company Circulation to provide transportation for patients to over 700 participating health facilities. The service was only made available to 25 states. The company even went as far as hiring a veteran lobbyist in Washington, DC, to push the company’s agenda on policies related to health care and medical records privacy.
The rideshare company, Lyft, also partnered with Circulation and a health care insurer to provide non-emergency medical transportation. Over 3.5 million Americans miss their health care appointments every year due to a lack of transportation.