As we’ve gone over a few times already, non-emergency medical transportation is both a business, and a resource for other businesses. The business model itself isn’t particularly complicated. Essentially the transportation business offers its services to a medical facility of some sort that needs to make sure its patients are getting to and from the facility in a safe and timely manner. Late or missing patients equals lost money to these medical facilities making it well worth the price of hiring non-emergency medical transportation. In some cases, it can even lead to the acquisition of new patients.
Government policies can also play a role in how non-emergency medical transportation is used as well. For example, the expansion of Medicaid across the US due to the Affordable Care Act has seen a large growth in the need for this type of transportation. In all, there has been 9 million more people enrolled in Medicaid and 6 million enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It is estimated that up to 270,000 of these people will need non-emergency medical transportation. While this is a small percentage, it does indicate a vastly growing need for this type of service.
Another factor that is fueling the growth of this industry is the expansion of chronic conditions across the US. Conditions such as cancer, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease are on the rise. In fact, it is estimated that three-quarters of all US healthcare spending is on chronic conditions. As you can probably guess, chronic conditions tend to naturally impair a person’s ability to provide transportation for themselves, especially if they are elderly. This is especially true for conditions such as kidney disease which require frequent trips to a medical facility for dialysis and other treatments.
The good news is that non-emergency medical transportation’s cost effective nature can save the healthcare industry a lot of money in the long run. For example, in the state of Florida a study was done that concluded that non-emergency medical transportation use resulted in a 1% decrease in emergency room visits. This may not seem like a lot but as it turns out, the state could save up to $11 for every dollar spent on non-emergency medical transportation. That’s a massive 100% ROI (return on investment), making this kind of transportation an extremely smart business decision.
The efficiency of non-emergency medical transportation doesn’t stop their either. More and more local areas are working to try and integrate this mode of transportation into their overall transportation network. This would lead to even greater savings. However, the logistics of a plan this ambitious isn’t exactly easy to coordinate. In part this is due to the fact that even the largest non-emergency medical transportation companies typically don’t have a seat on a city’s transportation committee and have no say in how to effectively coordinate such efforts. Going forward local governments are going to have to work more closely with non-emergency medical transportation companies if they hope to fully integrate their services into the grand scheme of things.
Overall the future is looking very bright for the non-emergency medical transportation industry. The need for the service is growing and local governments may start giving them more influence on public transportation systems in order to better serve the population’s medical transportation needs.