Non-Emergency Medical Transportation

The Interesting News in Non-Emergency Medical Transportation

By November 17, 2015 No Comments

It is never a dull day in non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) or at least never a dull month. We have been keeping a close eye on interesting things that happen in the industry and have compiled some of them to keep you informed, entertained and maybe a little outraged.

Oregon NEMT providers are having a tough time with their new statewide health insurance system “Ride to Care”, says Kendra Hogue of The Lund Report. Users complained of declining service quality while over 70 service providers attended a meeting in October to discuss an alarming number of denied payments; 2000 in the last quarter which lead to over 1600 appeals. It turns out the system had been denying payment for legitimate rides. New healthcare systems are usually built with good intentions but when they do not work it requires a dialog from both sides to find and resolve the issue. Hopefully Oregon can work it out. The new Oregon system was based on Kentucky’s state insurance system, which is about to be going through it’s own interesting times.

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In Kentucky, the newly elected Governor Matt Bevin, might be planning to cut federal funding for NEMT benefits. A similar story has unfolded in Arkansas, where Gov. Asa Hutchinson had spent the summer considering cutting the $14 million annual NEMT benefit from the state’s Medicaid funding. At the end of October, he was convinced not to by the arguments of consultants. They claimed the state’s NEMT brokerage model was very efficient and also that  it is ultimately cost effective, as easy transportation to care means health issues are dealt with before they get expensive to treat. We all want more efficient health care, but cutting NEMT benefits for low income people is  not the best way to save money. It’s one thing to try to cut funding for NEMT, but how about canceling it entirely?

It’s a mess in Texas: Texoma Area Paratransit System Inc, known as TAPS, is shutting down its operations in November. The non-profit agency has not paid its employees for weeks, Texas health officials have already canceled its contract to provide NEMT and it is now under investigation for possible fraud and mismanagement of its Medicaid contract. Meanwhile, the sick and disabled of the 9 counties covered by TAPS are scrambling to find alternate means of transportation, some are using church groups and social media to find rides. A replacement service is already preparing to take over the areas with lost coverage. If TAPS is so keen on not paying its drivers perhaps they could learn from another company in New York.

The early stages of self-driving car technology are being deployed in New York City by a NEMT company, Amb-Trans. They are putting Mobileye, a camera based collision avoidance system in 60 of their vehicles. Mobileye uses AI that can differentiate moving objects like pedestrians and cyclists and predict collision times to give drivers warnings. It is similar technology that is being used in experimental autonomous cars around the world. It takes less and less imagination to picture a world of driverless cars; but for an industry like NEMT, where it is all about serving people with needs, the driver is an integral part of the overall service. Self driving cars might sound futuristic but they can not replace the human touch, at least not yet…

These have been some interesting stories in the industry for this month, if you have any of your own tell them to us in the comments below, and if you want get more content about your industry, leave us your email at box in the sidebar. [/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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