Written by: Michael Shabkie, Founder, Non Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission
The Non Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission (NEMTAC) is a nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to championing standards and best practices between providers and those in need of non-emergency medical transportation.
According to a recent American Hospital Association study on Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), hospitals and health systems are recognizing that social, economic and environmental factors affect the opportunities that patients and their families must engage in healthy behaviors, which ultimately improves health outcomes.
Issue 1- Missed appointments and the resulting delays in care cost the health system $150 billion each year in the U.S. When a patient is unable to find or afford a ride, costs accrue for patients, caregivers, providers, insurers and taxpayers. Health care systems lose revenue from missed appointments because of the effects on delivery, cost of care and resource planning.
Issue 2 – Patients frequently identify transportation barriers as a major reason for missing health care appointments. Missed appointments are associated with increased medical care costs for the patient, disruption of patient care and provider-patient relationships, delayed care and increased emergency department visits.
Issue 3 – Patients are less likely to fill prescriptions if they experience transportation issues. According to one study, 65 percent of patients said transportation assistance would help with prescriptions fills after discharge. Studies have shown that restriction of Medicaid payments for transportation resulted in decreased prescription refills.
Hospitals and health systems can address patients’ transportation needs and improve the health of their communities by implementing a variety of strategies, including:
• Understanding and assessing the impact of transportation on public health
• Supporting policy and infrastructure programs aimed to improve transportation access and to create safer, healthier transportation options
• Investing resources in understanding patients’ transportation needs
• Providing mobile clinics or direct transportation services through community partnerships or programs
• Using technology, such as providing telehealth options, to reduce travel time for patients
By making the commitment to address transportation barriers and building partnerships with community organizations and other entities, hospitals and health systems can improve transportation and health care access for patients and families and create more equitable, healthier communities.
NEMTAC is addressing the challenges noted in the American Hospital Association study in a comprehensive manner by:
Developing American National Standards – NEMTAC is dedicated to ensuring safe medical transportation and has a role in the establishment of American National Standards that affect our industry. Our standards development activities have a broad scope, ranging from high-quality customer care, safe vehicle operations, life safety and ethical business practices.
National Accreditation for Transportation Providers – NEMTAC offers the only national accreditation program designed to enhance and promote the quality of care in America’s medical transportation system (non-ambulance). Obtaining accreditation distinguishes an organization and signifies to its customer and stakeholders that they have met the NEMT industry standards of excellence. NEMTAC’s comprehensive accreditation process often exceeds those established by state or local regulators and are designed to increase utilization, serve as a market differentiator and decrease liability.
Certification Programs for the NEMT Professional – NEMTAC has teamed up with Medic-CE to provide exceptional online education to the non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) industry. This innovative partnership combines Medic-CE’s dedication to high standards of content development and innovative technology delivery with NEMTAC’s critical mission to provide national standards, company accreditation and professional development programs to the dedicated medical transportation providers throughout the United States.
The Non Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission (NEMTAC) was established as a nonprofit organization to enhance and promote the quality of care in America’s medical transportation system. NEMTAC standards represent industry best practices designed to ensure consistently high-quality customer care, safe vehicle operations and ethical business practices. In addition to accreditation, NEMTAC provides advanced education and training certificate programs to individuals seeking a career in the medical transportation industry. For more information visit http://www.nemtac.org.
About the Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) Industry
The NEMT industry provides a critical non-ambulance transportation link between patients and their medical care needs, including appointments with physicians and other services, such as dialysis, diagnostic tests or wound care. 17,000+ companies in the NEMT industry provide millions of transports annually for patients, typically for pre-scheduled services. However, it’s estimated that missed care appointments due to a lack of transportation cost the U.S. healthcare system billions of dollars each year.
Social Determinants of Health Series: Transportation and the Role of Hospitals https://www.aha.org/ahahret-guides/2017-11-15-social-determinants-health-series-transportation-and-role-hospitals