The common goal that most healthcare professionals share is to make sure that patients are receiving the best quality of care and to eliminate any potential barriers that may be blocking that care. So, what if that barrier involves the simple act of being transported?
According to CTAA, millions of Americans every year have their medical care hindered due to the lack of access to transportation services. In fact, 3.6 million Americans are dealing with this issue, and 950,000 children are have missed or delayed medical services because of transportation issues.
That is a lot of Americans missing out on care due to lack of resources. Luckily, this problem is in the process of being solved, and appointments being missed.
“Research puts the average no-show rate for community hospitals at 62 appointments per day, at an annual cost of $3 million. For teaching hospitals, no-show and late-arrival rates averaged 25% and 31%, respectively.” Healthcare Dive reports.
Due to this problem, The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services has developed NEMT.
NEMT is used to describe the transportation benefit that Medicaid and Medicare offer to members, which provides patients who have no means of getting to healthcare services, access to these services. This feature not only helps individuals get to where they need to be but it also allows the disabled and elderly to return home as opposed to staying in hospitals and nursing homes. All in all, it benefits patients and makes healthcare more accessible to all.
Not only does NEMT benefit patients, it also saves money for healthcare costs. The federal government spends about $2.7 billion dollars yearly on transport.
“Healthcare costs would escalate rapidly with low-income individuals ending up in high-cost emergency rooms via ambulance services at 15 times the cost of routine transportation,” Ctaa reports.
Cigna-HealthSpring Partners With Lyft
To further make transportation more accessible to patients, Cigna-HealthSpring, one of the nations leading providers of Medicare Advantage plans, has recently announced a recent partnership with the ride-sharing company, Lyft. This has been developed after 92% of Cigna customers have reported to use Lyft, and prefer this method of transportation over others.
“We’re proud to be working with Cigna-HealthSpring to make a difference in their customers’ lives by ensuring that they are able to get to their medical appointments on time in a safe and comfortable environment,” said Gyre Renwick, VP Lyft Business.” Cigna reports.
The partnership works for members who are in non-emergency situations, and who have accessed Access2Care through their plan, at no additional cost. This is a transportation management service provided to health plans who serve Medicaid and Medicare populations.
This is not the first time a healthcare provider has partnered with ride-sharing services. MedStar partnered with Uber last year, which was a move to push digital technologies to the forefront of care, as patients accessed Uber on the MedStar website.
With these collaborations, it is clear that the healthcare industry is leveraging the opportunity to make health care as accessible as possible, especially to those who suffer from lack of transportation. These moves are a step towards using innovation in this sector.
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