Picture this; you are a senior citizen who needs to get to your doctor’s office for a necessary appointment but doesn’t have reliable transportation. Or you recently got injured, leaving you temporarily unable to drive around.
Enter Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT), a form of medical transport designed to help people with limited mobility get around safely and affordably. In this respect, ACC Medlink boasts an experienced team of care managers and drivers to ensure the delivery of premium bedside-to-bedside services. The firm is a preferred provider of NEMT, serving thousands of patients and offering a full range of services in compliance with HIPAA and other federal regulations.
That said, what does NEMT entail, and what should patients and their families expect when they seek the service? Read on for details.
The Nuances of NEMT
Transportation-related issues generally cause roughly 3.6 million patients in the U.S. to miss their medical appointments. As a result, some of their conditions worsen due to a lack of treatment, leading to medical emergencies.
NEMT helps address transportation challenges and coordinates care for patients with complex healthcare needs by facilitating better communication between providers. By so doing, it helps avert injuries that may otherwise occur if patients use unreliable transportation.
Depending on a patient’s needs, a NEMT provider could provide a wheelchair-accessible vehicle or other medical aids such as bariatric gurneys (for patients weighing over 350 pounds). Their emergency technicians are also on hand to offer assistance throughout the trip.
What’s more, NEMT coordinators provide pre-trip information, such as medical requirements for a safe journey, anticipated trip time, and destination addresses. They may also help reduce costs by connecting patients with lower-cost alternative forms of transportation such as UBER and Lyft. Generally, their services are ideal for:
- Differently-abled people who cannot drive but need access to healthcare facilities for regular checkups or treatments.
- Senior citizens who can’t drive themselves around due to age-related complications such as vision or hearing impairment.
- People with medical and cognitive limitations or conditions requiring transportation to and from healthcare facilities such as dialysis centers.
- Patients without a vehicle, valid driver’s license, or access to reliable public transportation (those who’re geographically isolated).
NEMT services also include accompaniment for patients needing extra assistance while traveling. For example, a driver may provide physical or cognitive assistance to a patient during the journey. Likewise, ACC Medlink’s spacious sprinter vans accommodate extra passengers, allowing family members or pets to accompany their loved ones during the trip.
Medicaid and Medicare members are the primary beneficiaries of NEMT. Medicaid, in particular, recognizes NEMT as a crucial benefit, helping patients attend their medical appointments or access pharmacies. The program funds transportation to and from providers, helping beneficiaries receive necessary care that might be inaccessible due to mobility constraints.
What Patients Can Expect
Accessing NEMT services is usually a simple process. First, the patient, care provider, or family member contacts the NEMT provider to schedule the transport. This could be via a phone call, email, an online form, or an app – depending on the provider’s systems.
The provider then requests information about the patient’s specific needs, such as wheelchair access, the need for oxygen during the trip, their medical condition, or the need for a certified nurse or family member’s accompaniment. You may also need to indicate the reason for the transfer, preferred date and time, destination, and other details pertinent to the trip. These details allow the provider to gauge the level of assistance needed.
On the appointed day, the NEMT provider arranges for an appropriate vehicle and personnel. They also confirm the driver’s identity and provide information about the route before departure. The assigned driver may also help the patient board the vehicle(depending on their condition), drive them to their medical appointment, and subsequently, back home.
Payment arrangements for NEMT services are often settled beforehand, either directly or through insurance coverage. Patients can also make direct payments or apply for state-sponsored programs to help cover costs.
Choosing a Dependable Provider
A patient’s safety and comfort depend on the service provider they choose. As such, you should only consider providers experienced in medical transportation services. Their services should also be accessible and tailored to meet your needs.
In addition, they should be licensed and credentialed – according to state laws, and have adequately trained staff. Plus, their vehicles should be equipped with safety features such as lifts, ramps, proper signage, and equipment for securement.
The provider’s customer reviews can also offer insights into their service quality. Even so, first-hand experience can help you assess whether a provider can meet your needs. For instance, before the trip, their phone etiquette and responsiveness can help you gauge their client service capabilities.
Transportation is a universal need – especially for patients reliant on medical care. NEMT ensures you can keep a medical appointment as you work toward better health. In other words, it prevents non-emergency situations from becoming urgent.