Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Services: Bringing Medical Assistance Closer to You
Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) is a branch of medical transportation services tailored to patients and healthcare beneficiaries that face unique barriers to meeting their medical appointments. Some of the barriers are no valid drivers’ license, no functional vehicle, and inability to travel due to physical, mental, cognitive, and developmental challenges.
NEMT as it is popularly called is designed for Medicaid beneficiaries. The services covered are not treated as an emergency, although they are still important and helpful. Consequently, the transportation services for this purpose are all included as Medicaid benefits.
Non-emergency medical transport services are tailored to medical appointments or non-emergent care attention. Emergency care is an event that puts the health and life of a Medicaid beneficiary at risk, thus requiring immediate treatment. Therefore, real emergencies are caused by serious symptoms. Symptoms that could be life-threatening such as a heart attack, internal laceration, or serious trauma.
In a paper published by AHA in 2017 titled “Transportation and the Role of Hospitals”, the findings revealed how health is impacted by social determinants. About 3.6 million people have no medical access because they cannot transport themselves to appointments.
About 4% of children miss their medical appointments due to transportation logistics. Hence, transportation is a major hindrance, in fact, the third reason why a lot of patients miss their medical appointments. These social factors have virtually nothing to do with the four walls of a hospital.
NEMT providers move patients to and from appointments. They must decide the best and appropriate form of transportation to do that. Their services also cover all the expenses incurred during the transportation of the patient.
NEMT is focused on getting patients to their appointments while doing that inexpensively and conveniently. Medicaid beneficiaries who require regular check-ups will no longer miss their appointments when they use a medical transport service.
Examples of Non-emergency medical transport services include ambulance, wheelchair, stretcher, couriers, and flight.
According to a study on the revenue generated by the ambulance services in New York from 2012-2017, $655,000 was realized in 2012 reaching up to $921,850 in 2017. These incremental earnings resulted in a 140% increase in revenue recorded by this industry within 5 years. By 2021, the revenue projection is expected to hit $1,128,470, equivalent to 172% increase.
This demonstrates the assistance patients get from mobile services, which are very crucial and helpful. The good thing is that ambulance services are also tailored to those that require no time-critical emergency. It is also suitable for those who require basic medical support before getting to their appointments.
Similarly, wheelchair services are also important to patients that cannot support themselves. With wheelchairs, they get the temporary support they need and make their appointments on time.
Also, patients with lingering back pains or spinal cord issues can avail the stretcher as they go for their appointments. The patient lies on the stretcher as he or she is being transported to a healthcare provider.
Couriers are used to transport human organs and blood to their destination while Flight services are used to convey patients that choose to use this alternative to their appointments, including its additional medical services.
Without NEMT, many patients will continue to struggle to meet their appointments, hurting the aim and objectives of Medicaid and other health initiatives. Quality NEMT services are bridging an important gap and have proved to be a lasting medical assistance solution in medical transportation.