What is Non-Emergency Medical Transport, and How Can It Benefit Patients?
As we get older, it isn’t easy to get around. Remember when it was easy to hop in the car and drive to see your doctor? For many of us, the ease of this type of travel fades away over time. Getting out of the house now may require a different approach.
Modern transportation is making it easier once again. Non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) services are critical and provide significant benefits to patients daily.
Defining Non-Emergency Medical Transport Service: What is NEMT?
NEMT is a medical transport service for people who need assistance to travel to and from scheduled medical appointments. It’s a Medicare benefit and covers non-emergency, important healthcare needs.
What does NEMT stand for? Its full form is non-emergency medical transportation.
A non-emergency medical transport service is a provider to help you get medical attention, when necessary, but not in an emergency. It sounds simple because it is.
The non-emergency medical transportation market is worth $5 billion,
A non-emergency medical transport service will help pick you up from your home, another location, or even a nursing home. The provider will bring you to a medical facility, wherever you need to go. Remember that these providers are not the same as an ambulance. They are transports, but not when in an emergency. If you have an emergency, the recommendation is you still call 9-1-1 for an ambulance and professional with qualifications to assist.
So, what is non-emergency medical transportation? It’s a transport service for non-emergency medical care.
Understanding How a NEMT Service Provider Works
An individual may have a doctor’s appointment for an annual physical but have no way to get to that appointment by themselves. You may have no vehicle.
If you own a car, you may not be able to drive yourself. It could also be you have no family member to give you a ride. Tasks that were simple such as walking up and down a flight of stairs, may prove troublesome. The possibilities are endless, with many variables in play. It may also be that you do not feel up to driving that particular day. These are reasons you may want to hire a NEMT service provider.
The way the process works is you reach out to a provider or use software such as an app on your phone, connecting you to service offerings. Once you reach the central hub, they will locate a non-emergency medical transport to pick you up. The assignment goes to that available vehicle. The driver will then promptly arrive at your location. They will take the instructions given to them for the job, rely on software for efficient directions to get you to your destination.
Who Are the NEMT Brokers?
You may hear about non-emergency medical transport brokers. Who are these brokers? What role do they play? Think of NEMT brokers as the central hub helping tie together all the service providers.
The NEMT broker ecosystem is often called an NEMT marketplace because fleet operators can get a batch of NEMT trip bookings from brokers.
NEMT brokers liaise with Medicaid and Health Maintenance Organizations to aggregate trip bookings, ensure NEMT fleets comply with all regulations, and attest the trip completions.
Here is a list of top NEMT transportation brokers in the country.
- MTM (Medical Transportation Management)
- American Medical Response (AMR)
- MAS Transportation
- One Call
When you run a non-emergency medical transport business, you need clients to drive from one point to the next. However, you may not have the right software to obtain the jobs. You may have vehicles and employees to execute the assignments given.
Non-emergency medical transport brokers are the central hub for Medicaid transport, controlling all the trips, assigning jobs to service providers. If a patient needs help getting to an appointment, they request providers to match them with an available vehicle to get them where they need to go. It is also critical these brokers ensure NEMT providers have a license and that the patients receiving the service have Medicaid eligibility.
NEMT Broker Software
Many NEMT brokers rely on software to handle all their quarterback duties. The software will help their drivers, manage their vehicles, their schedules, allow their vans to get point-to-point quickly, track where the vans are, and do much more.
National NEMT brokers often provide such operations management software to fleet operators. However, rather than provide value, these broker software solutions conversely tie down fleet operators to a particular broker.
So when fleet operators say “NEMT broker software” they typically are referring to NEMT management software, like Tobi, which can get bookings from multiple NEMT or Medicaid transport brokers.
Driving everything through a technology platform like Tobi makes life easy for the broker and the provider, rather than the NEMT provider going it alone.
The NEMT software solution ecosystem is fairly new. So many fleet operators still refer to NEMT software variably as dispatch software, scheduling software, or non-emergency ambulette dispatch software.
The Growth of the NEMT Market
The non-emergency medical transport service market continues to expand. According to Zion Market Research, by 2026, the healthcare transportation industry will reach $31.51 billion globally. The growth results from the fact that we have a growing population of seniors in the United States and abroad.
Starting in the year 2030, Americans over 65 will make up roughly 21% of the population. It is up from where it stands today at 15%. The increase is due to the baby boomers getting older. Things will accelerate over time as well. By 2060, 25% of Americans will be 65 and older, with the number of folks 85 and older tripling.
Add up all these variables, and it is easy to see non-emergency medical transport needs are increasing. The growth of the market is imminent, and software can help you capitalize.
Medicaid Coverage for NEMT Service
The growth of NEMT services includes recognition by the healthcare system overall. As part of state Medicaid plans, individuals have coverage known as non-emergency medical transportation. It will cover the ride for an eligible individual to get to a doctor’s office, a hospital, or other medical office providers.
The cover will include NEMT wheelchair vans, which meet the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations for accessibility. With approval by your state’s Medicaid program, a professional with proper training can pick you up with this specialty equipment to transport you to your destination.
Patients Benefit from NEMT Services
Non-emergency medical transportation service providers do great things for patients. It is all about being proactive with one’s health.
Someone living in a wheelchair needs to see the doctor regularly. Routine physicals and check-ups can help identify health degradation. You may lack a car, have trouble walking. Your physical abilities may require you to be on a stretcher for travel. If that is a necessity, non-emergency medical transport services help meet the need.
Non-emergency medical transport service providers allow patients with disabilities to get medical care necessary with professional drivers carrying qualifications. As a much better alternative to emergency transportation such as an ambulance, non-emergency medical transportation is a growing market helping more patients every day.