Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Management Services
The contemporary problem of an ever ageing population and consequent increased reliance on healthcare has driven healthcare providers to look for ways to relieve the growing pressures placed on emergency medical transportation services. Non-emergency medical transportation has consequently been developed in an attempt to provide patients with transportation options, and therefore allow them to seek non-urgent medical attention when needed.
Non-emergency transportation is utilized by 40 million Americans every year, as it provides a less expensive, more efficient way for those without any form of transportation, to reach and receive medical care. It has also become an integral part of the United States Medicaid program, which provides over 11 million disadvantaged Americans with access to organized, subsidized non-emergency transportation annually.
The Role of Medical Transportation Management Services in Non-Emergency Transportation
Hospitals, healthcare systems, transportation brokerages and various alternative health providers have begun to struggle with managing problems such as: logistics, client information, detecting patient eligibility for the services offered and submitting claims to organizations such as Medicaid (in the United States). They have consequently started employing medical transportation management services to control these issues for them.
The general role of a medical transportation management services is therefore:
- To field phone calls from clients
- To schedule transportation
- To verify client details (is the client a Medicaid member, insured etc.)
- To arrange right-sized medically related transportation (including required healthcare professionals and equipment for the duration of the transport)
- To track trip progress, so as relatives and medical staff remain informed
- To arrange for billing and payment as needed
Many of these operations are extremely sophisticated operating 24 hour manned call centers and utilizing purpose designed software packages to achieve maximum efficiency.
Transport Management Services: The Business Side
As more and more medical institutions are relying on medical transportation management services to facilitate their non-emergency transport, the medical transportation management industry is becoming ‘big business’. Many of these companies have even designed their own management software, which they market to other start-up medical transport management companies.
Most of the financial gain in this industry however, comes from securing agreements with agencies such as governments, hospitals, transportation brokerages and various other healthcare providers. A great example of this is the 2010 agreement struck between the state of Idaho and the healthcare company American Response. This contract saw Access2Care, an American Response subsidiary take over as the non-emergency transport management service in Idaho. It is reported that this contract was worth 16 million dollars in revenue in the first year, and that income will total 50 million dollars over the full three year period.
The estimated revenue generated via non-emergency medical transportation management services throughout the United States is furthermore believed to be in excess of 750 million dollars annually. This shows the potential for the rapid expansion of this industry, which is already occurring in many regions throughout the United States. In other countries such as Australia however, non-emergency medical transportation programs are still in their infancy. They seem to be following the same path as similar programs in America though, with rapid expansion and consequent regulation already occurring in some states.