If you’re part of an emergency medical services (EMS) organization, then a good number of your colleagues likely spend the bulk of their time and effort attending to patients and situations requiring urgent responses. Most EMS professionals such as paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are tasked with providing preliminary care and relief for gravely ill or injured patients, keeping them stable, and transporting them safely to the nearest healthcare facility.
While managing such high-stakes scenarios is typically the bread and butter of most EMS companies, it’s also worthwhile for such organizations to invest in improving their non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services. NEMT services refer to affordable transport services offered to particularly vulnerable patient populations who may need extra help getting to and from essential medical appointments. As a means of medical transportation, NEMT services are typically offered at much lower rates than ambulance transport.
Functional NEMT services are a crucial part of making quality healthcare accessible to all. Most organizations use specialized non-emergency medical services software to keep track of transport timetables and process job orders from clients. Supported by the right technology, an EMS organization can optimize its NEMT services and thus provide better experiences to patients with special transportation needs.
Here are a few reasons why your EMS organization should develop its NEMT capabilities:
Improves Access to Healthcare
People with physical and mental disabilities, acute injuries, post-surgical limitations, and other health and safety concerns may face challenges getting to and from their regular medical appointments. These people typically rely on friends, family, or community organizations to address their transport needs. When these options are limited or unavailable, NEMT services can fill the gap and get patients safely to the follow-up appointments that are often instrumental to their successful recovery.
Furthermore, NEMT services don’t just ferry patients back and forth. The best providers also strive to make the experience as pleasant for their customers as possible. Besides using dedicated scheduling software to book and track appointments, many EMS organizations also go the extra mile to optimize their vehicles for patients’ convenience. NEMT vehicles are typically able to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility equipment comfortably, allowing clients to travel in comfort.
Safer Transportation for Patients with Special Needs
NEMT service providers work hard to guarantee client safety by fielding only the most up-to-date vehicles and maintaining them regularly. If your organization is beefing up its NEMT services, then you’ll want to make sure that your vehicles are fully crash test compliant. You’ll also want to inspect and detail the vehicles in your fleet on at least a weekly basis.
Having well-trained NEMT practitioners is also vital to keeping patients safe and comfortable on every ride. Many healthcare professionals who now work in NEMT, for instance, have prior experience as ambulance drivers or nurses. As a service provider, you’ll want to invest in helping these employees get the most current professional certifications available and training them in current industry best practices to keep their skills fresh and sharp.
Helps Patients Maintain Their Independence
Finding ways to function with a degree of independence in spite of illness, injury, or disability can be an empowering experience for many patients. Personal independence can help fortify the mental health of a person recovering from or living with a major health condition, uplifting their overall sense of well-being and potentially improving their general quality of life. And for certain patients, the seemingly mundane act of addressing their own transportation needs will feel much better than depending on the kindness of friends or family members.
NEMT providers can help clients exercise this independence by making their services available through a range of channels. It helps, for example, to give clients the option of scheduling appointments online or by phone. Opening up other platforms for booking like mobile apps and instant messaging enables your clients to communicate with you in the ways that are easiest for them.
Provides Patients with an Affordable Transport Option
Many different types of medical transportation are used throughout the global healthcare industry, and each one of these operates within its own distinct price range. As a rule, NEMT services are far less expensive than traditional ambulance-based transportation. Though NEMT rates may vary widely depending on the location and type of vehicle used, choosing non-emergency transportation can save patients as much as 10 times what they would have spent on an ambulance ride.
Guarantees Patients’ Peace of Mind
Traveling and transport can be significant sources of anxiety for individuals with both chronic and acute health problems. For many, taking public transport is risky at best and totally infeasible at worst. Even those who can manage relatively well on public transportation may feel uncomfortable or ill at ease in a vehicle that isn’t built to support passengers with major health issues. By offering your client base prompt, comfortable, and convenient NEMT services, you ultimately help support their peace of mind.
NEMT is a practical and convenient answer to many challenges that people with disabilities and other health concerns regularly struggle with. Healthy demand for such services in most places means it’s in the best interest of EMS organizations to improve the NEMT services they provide. Doing so will make healthcare more readily available to all who need it, regardless of their particular circumstances.