For some people, getting to and from their medical appointments can be a challenge because they don't (or shouldn't) drive, or they don't have close family or friends who can transport them to the doctor's office. Regardless of whether those conditions are only temporary or are permanent, it can be a serious roadblock to treatment or recovery if appointments, treatments, and follow-up visits can't be attended.
What is NEMT?
Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) is an alternative transportation solution. Its services are meant to enable safe and timely journeys for healthcare appointments, and are often administered through NEMT brokers. NEMT services are sometimes covered by Medicaid, and occasionally by state, local, or hospital programs.
What do NEMT brokers do?
An NEMT broker’s job it is to qualify, book, and schedule these non-emergency trips for clients.
Non-emergency medical transportation brokers use a suite of specialized NEMT software to be able to match up transport requests with the right vehicles, the right routes, and the right schedule in order to confirm that the client can access the vehicle for transportation. Riders who require wheelchairs, walkers, mobility scooters, or even gurneys are ensured that when their ride arrives, they can board and disembark at their destination without undue difficulties.
The NEMT brokers will also work with the call center to make sure that clients seeking transport are qualified to receive the service and are approved and scheduled for the best possible time for the client's request.
The NEMT broker is able to keep track of the current location and schedule of all drivers, often through the software itself, and is able to calculate trip costs and timing for each transport as accurately as possible ahead of time, which helps both the client and the provider to best plan and manage each trip.
In highly populated areas with multiple NEMT brokers, clients may be referred to another broker if the requested trip or schedule doesn't fall within that broker's area of availability, or referred to another provider in the case of those who may not qualify for NEMT services.
Brokers also help to ensure that each NEMT provider and its drivers are all properly licensed, outfitted, and insured, and that all pertinent data, such as the riders' names and trip details, are recorded and properly reported for payment or reimbursement.
For the riders, access to NEMT services is often as easy as picking up the phone and telling the broker when and where they need to go, and what sort of accommodations need to be made (if any). The broker then takes on the task of handling the details, including qualification, scheduling, and payment, which enables those in need of this important service to just have to 'show up' at their appointed time in order to get the medical services they require.
NEMT is a crucial element of healthcare that doesn't often get discussed, but which can literally make a difference in people's lives and their recovery from illness or injury, as well as for those seniors who aren't able to transport themselves to their medical appointments.
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