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NEMT Rides Are On The Rise
The use of non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) has been on the rise nationwide in recent years. There are several factors that have contributed to this trend:
An aging population: The U.S. population is aging, with the number of people over 65 expected to more than double by 2050. As people age, they are more likely to require transportation services to medical appointments.
Increased access to healthcare: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has expanded access to healthcare for many low-income individuals and those with pre-existing conditions. As a result, more people are seeking medical care, and many of them require access to transportation to get to their appointments.
Limited public transportation options: Many rural and underserved areas lack reliable public transportation options, making it difficult for residents to access medical care. NEMT services can fill this gap by providing transportation to medical appointments for those who do not have access to a car or other means of transportation.
Increased demand for specialized medical services: The availability of specialized medical treatments and procedures has increased in recent years, and many of these services are only offered at specialized facilities that may be located far from patients' homes. NEMT services can help patients get to these facilities for treatment.
Low-income individuals, senior citizens, and patients living in rural areas are among those who have particularly increased their use of NEMT services.
Low-income individuals may not have access to a car or the financial resources to pay for other forms of transportation, making NEMT services an important resource for accessing medical care. The ACA has expanded access to healthcare for many low-income individuals, and NEMT services can help them get to the care they need.
Senior citizens are more likely to require transportation to medical appointments due to age-related health issues and decreased mobility. Many seniors do not have access to a car or are unable to drive, and NEMT services can provide a reliable and safe transportation option.
Patients living in rural areas may have limited access to public transportation and may be located far from medical facilities. NEMT services can provide transportation to medical appointments for these patients, helping them access the care they need.
The rise in the use of NEMT services has also led to the development of a more organized and regulated industry. In the past, NEMT services were often provided by informal networks of volunteers or family members. However, as the demand for these services has increased, more formal NEMT providers have emerged, offering a range of transportation options (e.g., ambulances, wheelchair vans, shuttles) and utilizing software systems to manage scheduling, dispatch, and billing.
NEMT providers must meet certain standards and regulations, such as those related to vehicle safety, driver training, and patient privacy (e.g., HIPAA compliance). Many states have also established programs to coordinate and fund NEMT services for Medicaid beneficiaries and other eligible populations.
Overall, the use of NEMT services has increased nationwide in response to the growing demand for transportation to medical appointments, particularly among low-income individuals, senior citizens, and patients living in rural areas. The development of a more organized and regulated NEMT industry has helped to ensure the availability of safe and reliable transportation options for these populations.