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5 Tips to Keep Your NEMT Vehicles in Great Shape

The non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) market is growing rapidly, and it doesn’t look like it will slow down anytime soon.  

Numerous reports forecast the industry to be worth $15.6 billion by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9%.  

While the expected increase means more growth opportunities, it also means more demand, competition, and challenges for your business.  

How can you stand out from the crowd and set your business up for success? One answer is to ensure your vehicles are in impeccable shape—inside and out.  

In this article, we provide five easy tips to help you keep your most significant assets on the road and making money.  

1. Regular and Thorough Vehicle Inspections 

Consistent—ideally daily—vehicle inspections are crucial for ensuring NEMT vans are reliable, safe, and comfortable for every passenger while meeting compliance standards

Key areas to focus on during inspections include: 

  • Engine Performance: Regularly look for wear and tear, unusual noises, or leaks, such as oil, brake fluid, or antifreeze. 
  • Brakes: Their responsiveness and condition are essential for passenger safety. Ensure drivers report any abnormal sounds or issues when pressing the brakes while driving. 
  • Tires: Check tread depth and watch for uneven wear to ensure safe transport in all weather conditions. 
  • Wheelchair Lifts: Functionality and safety checks are crucial for accessible service. 
  • Interior and Exterior: Maintain cleanliness, operational lights, and secure seating. 

Adopt a routine schedule for these checks. For instance, a quick daily review of essential functions like brakes and wheelchair lifts and a more detailed weekly inspection can keep your fleet in good shape.  

Also, maintaining a log of these inspections helps stay organized and serves as a record for regulatory compliance and future reference.  

This diligence in routine checks enhances the safety and comfort of your passengers and contributes significantly to the longevity of your vehicles. 

2. Prioritize Cleanliness and Hygiene 

Patients with health issues are often more susceptible to infections, so creating a clean vehicle environment is essential. 

  • Regularly sanitize surfaces frequently touched by passengers and staff, such as door handles, seat belts, and wheelchair access areas. 
  • Use effective cleaning products against pathogens that are gentle enough not to irritate passengers with sensitivities or allergies. 
  • Look for products with a proven track record in healthcare settings. 

Along with daily cleaning, schedule regular deep cleans. This involves thoroughly cleaning the entire vehicle, including hard-to-reach areas. Depending on usage and passenger turnover, deep cleaning should be done at least monthly or more frequently. 

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3. Invest in Regular Professional Servicing 

Regular professional checks ensure your vehicles meet regulatory standards and run efficiently and safely. 

Essential services include regular oil changes, which keep the engine running smoothly, and brake servicing, which is necessary for the safety of passengers and drivers. Regular check-ups of the electrical system, fluid levels, and suspension also play a vital role. 

Investing in these professional services is an added expense, but they are cost-effective in the long run. Regular servicing catches potential issues early, preventing more significant, costly repairs later. It also extends the life of your vehicles, ensuring you get the most out of your investment. 

4. Keep an Eye on Vehicle Performance 

Monitoring your NEMT fleet’s performance is vital for ensuring efficient and safe service.  

Key performance indicators include fuel efficiency and how the vehicle handles. Noticeable changes in these areas can signal underlying issues. 

Use technology to track vehicle performance effectively. Modern fleet management systems can monitor various parameters, such as fuel usage, engine health, and driving patterns, providing early warnings of potential problems. These systems help in making data-driven decisions for timely maintenance. 

Also, never underestimate the value of driver feedback. They can provide insights into subtle changes in vehicle performance that technology might not pick up immediately.  

Encourage them to report any irregularities, no matter how minor they may seem. 

5. Ensure Compliance with Health and Safety Standards 

Adhering to health and safety standards is crucial in the NEMT sector.  

These standards vary by region and typically include vehicle accessibility, safety features, and emergency preparedness. For instance, standards may dictate specifics about wheelchair lifts, securement systems, and first aid equipment. Regular maintenance ensures these critical components are always operational and up to code. 

Routine maintenance checks help identify deviations from these standards, allowing for timely corrections. This process includes verifying the functionality of accessibility equipment, ensuring emergency response tools are in place and operational, and checking safety features like seat belts and airbags. 

Staying updated on changes in health and safety regulations is equally important. 

In It For the Long Haul 

Keeping your NEMT vans in excellent condition is essential for providing safe, reliable, and efficient service.  

Regular inspections, prioritizing cleanliness, professional servicing, monitoring performance, and adhering to health and safety standards are vital to achieving this. Implementing these practices ensures your passengers’ well-being and enhances your fleet’s longevity and performance.  

Are you curious to see how Tobi can help you run your NEMT operations more efficiently? Sign up for a free 30-day trial and experience how Tobi makes your business better at every turn.