As we get older, we may need to visit the doctor more often. However, this may be difficult if you don’t have any transportation to and from your appointments. Thankfully, there are a few non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) options available for you to use. Here are some tips for finding a safe NEMT service provider to help you get the treatment you need.
What to Know About Non-Emergency Medical Services
NEMT services provide patients with transportation to and from their medical appointments. Typically, NEMT companies pick up patients in a large van equipped with chairlifts. However, this varies from state to state. The driver is in charge of loading, unloading, and transporting the passengers safely. These non-emergency medical services offer some flexibility for patients who need tests, check-ups, etc. and can’t transport themselves.
The service is usually covered under most Medicare and Medicaid programs. Each state has its own requirements and regulations for NEMT services as well. In general, states may cover NEMT services for patients if they:
- Do not have a driver’s license;
- Do not have a working vehicle;
- Are unable to travel on their own; or
- Have a mental, cognitive, developmental, or physical limitation.
Once patients start receiving Medicaid or Medicare, all they need to do is set up a ride with an approved provider.
Why NEMT Services Are a Necessity
According to a study by the American Hospital Association, around 3.6 million people in the US don’t get enough medical care due to lack of transportation. In addition, transportation is the third most common barrier for adult healthcare access. This means that transportation availability has a direct effect on the health of the patient. NEMT services help improve the health of at-risk individuals by providing a government subsidized option for those who can’t afford alternative services.
Are NEMT Services Safe?
While there are many safe NEMT service options available, there is always a risk of injury. Since non-emergency medical services involve transporting patients who may be frail or sick, the workers must have excellent training. This means that the company should have safe, responsible drivers focused on passenger safety. Most patient injuries are a result of the following:
- Reckless driving,
- Improper chairlift operation,
- Unsecured passengers,
- Lack of assistance, and
- Failure to drop off patients in a safe location.
For this reason, it’s important to choose an NEMT service with trained workers and a good track record for patient safety. If you have suffered an injury using an NEMT service, there are attorneys that deal with NEMT injury claims and you should speak with one to get.
How to Find Approved NEMT Services
There are a few ways you can find the right NEMT services for you. First, if you have Medicaid or Medicare, ask your caseworker if there are any state-approved providers available. In most cases, they will give you a list of providers to contact or request pre authorization from your doctor. In many states, certain healthcare companies partner with rideshares like Uber or Lyft instead of dedicated NEMT providers. If your state doesn’t have any transportation services, you may want to talk to your doctor about your options.