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NEMTAC is Addressing the Unique Challenges the Patient, Payers and Providers Face in the Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Industry

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.

About NEMTAC
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.

Learn More

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

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Non Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission (NEMTAC) Announces ScheduleViewer, LLC as its Newest Corporate Sponsor

Non Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission (NEMTAC) is proud to collaborate with innovative companies across the NEMT industry as it works to develop the nations’ first set on national standards, accreditation programs and online certification courses. Today, we welcome Schedule Viewer, LLC as a Founding Corporate Sponsor.

NEMTAC is dedicated to ensuring safe medical transportation though the establishment of American National Standards that enhance the delivery of care. NEMTAC also offers programs that improve customer service, certifies NEMT professionals and promotes operational best practices. “We are pleased to welcome ScheduleViewer, LLC as one of our Founding Corporate Sponsors. Their active participation and input on the NEMTAC Technology Advisory Board has been invaluable,” said Melissa Jankowki, NEMTAC Executive Director.

The mission of Schedule Viewer is to produce Industry-leading, affordable and easy to use software for the Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) market. Using the latest technology coupled with customer driven innovation and excellent support, their goal is to empower their customers, transportation providers and brokers as they provide excellent service to their patrons, the riding public. The company currently serve over 400 NEMT transportation providers nationwide and manages over 12 million trips a year.

“We are excited to become involved with this dynamic group of companies and individuals. The current model for non-emergency transportation is in need of repair and the solution is in leveraging technology and providing standards to ensure that those in need receive the transportation they require, and it is delivered timely and safely.” Said Myron Hammes, Managing Partner, Schedule Viewer, LLC.

About Schedule Viewer, LLC
Schedule Viewer, LLC is a software company, founded in 2008 that develops cloud based software solutions for the people transportation industry. The founding members bring over 50 years combined experience in developing software for the people transportation market and have a history of producing innovative and transformative solutions.
If you would like to learn more about Schedule Viewer, LLC, or the MediRoutes product, please contact us at (480) 393-3009, toll free at (855) 393-3009 or email info@scheduleviewer.com. Schedule Viewer has created practical solutions to an unsolvable problem. To learn more please visit www.scheduleviewer.com

About NEMTAC
Non Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission (NEMTAC) was established as a nonprofit healthcare 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 www.nemtac.org.

Announcing NEMT Today: A New Digital Magazine Dedicated to the Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Industry

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – March 26, 2019 – PRLog — The Non Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission (NEMTAC), today launched its new digital magazine, NEMT Today.

NEMT Today is a free digital publication completely dedicated to highlighting the importance of the non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) industry. We have been hard at work in creating and compiling interesting content for the magazine and today we finally get to hit the publish button!

“For the first edition, we were overjoyed by the participation of leading NEMT professionals and companies that share in the vision of NEMTAC. By championing national standards and promoting best practices, we hope to provide the NEMT industry with a digital magazine they can call their own,” said Melissa Jankowski, NEMTAC Executive Director.

NEMT Today will share in-depth stories, business tips, interviews and case studies of the utmost importance to the NEMT professional. Additionally, there will be a focus on today’s most innovative technologies and vendors along with business transformation strategies for the NEMT owner or manager.

“In today’s quickly evolving medical transportation landscape, it’s easy for people to feel overwhelmed with information. We’re acutely aware of that at NEMTAC,” said Michael Shabkie, Founder and Board Member. “With NEMT Today, we will focus on high-quality content presented in a way that makes readers feel empowered, not overwhelmed.”

About NEMTAC

Non Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission (NEMTAC) was established as a nonprofit healthcare 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 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.

Media Contact
Michael Shabkie
info@nemtac.org

 

Non Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission is Excited to Announce its First Annual Conference

NEMTAC is proud to announce its first annual conference, to be held September 8th – 10th, 2019, in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Talking Stick Resort & Casino. NEMTAC is a nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to championing standards and best practices for the provision of non-emergency medical transportation.

This is the first national conference solely dedicated to the Non Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) industry. The NEMTAC conference brings together leading NEMT professionals, company owners and operators along with healthcare professionals, executives, payers, NEMT vendors, and educators.

NEMTAC’s conference track information will be on the NEMTAC website shortly. The Board of Directors is grateful for the friends and sponsors who have been instrumental in the success of its inaugural year, including its Founding Corporate Sponsors, WellRyde, Medical Answering Services (MAS), TripSpark Technologies and Kinetik NEMT Billing.

“Conference attendees will have access to high quality keynotes, luncheons and events with full conference attendance. We encourage you to apply to present and participate in this exciting conference,” said Michael Shabkie, NEMTAC Founder. More information on the conference will be provided as it is available, please stay tuned for further announcements and for updates on our website.

Call for Presentations

Do you have experience and expertise that could benefit your NEMT colleagues? Why not share them and get recognition as a founding presenter at the First Annual NEMTAC conference? Please email conference@nemtac.org to discuss speaking opportunities.

About NEMTAC

Non Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission (NEMTAC) was established as a nonprofit healthcare 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 www.nemtac.org.

Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) Model

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a detailed fact sheet detailing the Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) model. It provides significant details on the scope of the project and key benchmarks – Michael Shabkie 

Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) Model
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s (Innovation Center) Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) Model is a voluntary, five-year payment model that will provide greater flexibility to ambulance care teams to address emergency health care needs of Medicare beneficiaries following a 911 call. Under the ET3 model, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will pay participating ambulance suppliers and providers to:

  1. Transport an individual to a hospital emergency department (ED) or other destination covered under the regulations
  2. Transport to an alternative destination (such as a primary care doctor’s office or an urgent care clinic),
  3. Provide treatment in place with a qualified health care practitioner, either on the scene or connected using telehealth.

The model will allow beneficiaries to access the most appropriate emergency services at the right time and place. The model will also encourage local governments, their designees, or other entities that operate or have authority over one or more 911 dispatches to promote successful model implementation by establishing a medical triage line for low-acuity 911 calls. As a result, the ET3 model aims to improve quality and lower costs by reducing avoidable transports to the ED and unnecessary hospitalizations following those transports.

Why develop a model for emergency medical services (EMS) innovation?
Currently, Medicare regulations only allow payment for emergency ground ambulance services when individuals are transported to hospitals, critical access hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and dialysis centers. Most beneficiaries who call 911 with a medical emergency are therefore transported to one of these facilities, and most often to a hospital ED, even when a lower-acuity destination may more appropriately meet an individual’s needs.

An earlier White Paper by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Transportation found that Medicare could save $560 million per year by transporting individuals to doctors’ offices rather than a hospital ED; taking into account avoided inpatient hospitalizations and opportunities for treating in place may garner further savings and quality of care improvements. Thus, there is great opportunity for improvement in care quality and reduction in costs to the Medicare program through innovation in emergency medical services (EMS).

In addition, a range of EMS innovations across the care continuum has been instituted throughout the country. The ET3 Model builds upon design components and lessons learned from such innovations as well as several EMS-related Innovation Center Health Care Innovation Award (HCIA) recipients.

How does the ET3 model transform the ambulance system?
With the support of local governments, their designees, or other entities that operate or have authority over one or more 911 dispatches, ambulance suppliers and providers will triage people seeking emergency care based on their presenting needs. The model aims to ensure Medicare Fee-For-Service beneficiaries receive the most appropriate care, at the right time, and in the right place. As depicted in the figure below, the model may help make EMS systems more efficient and will provide beneficiaries broader access to the care they need. Beneficiaries who receive treatment from alternative destinations may also save on out-of-pocket costs. An individual can always choose to be brought to an ED if he/she prefers.

This flow chart outlines how emergency health care needs of Medicare beneficiaries would be addressed following a 911 call, and the new services under the ET3 model.  At the top of the chart is “911 call received.” After the 911 call is received an ambulance service is initiated OR a health care professional discusses health concern(s) with the individual via a medical triage line. The medical triage line that connects an individual with a health care professional is a new service under the ET3 model.  If an ambulance is initiated, one of two things could happen. One, the ambulance could transport the individual to receive additional care, either to another care facility like urgent care, or to a covered destination like the emergency department. OR two, the ambulance arrives, but does not transport the individual. In this second scenario, as part of the ambulance care team, a qualified health care practitioner (either on site or through audio or video conferencing) provides treatment in place. The ambulance transporting the individual to another care facility like urgent care is a new service under the ET3 model as is treatment in place either on site or through audio or video conferencing via a qualified health care practitioner.

What are the model’s goals?
The ET3 model aims to reduce expenditures and preserve or enhance quality of care by:

• Providing person-centered care, such that beneficiaries receive the appropriate level of care delivered safely at the right time and place while having greater control of their healthcare through the availability of more options
• Encouraging appropriate utilization of services to meet health care needs effectively.
• Increasing efficiency in the EMS system to more readily respond to and focus on high-acuity cases, such as heart attacks and strokes.

How will the model achieve these goals?
The ET3 Model aims to achieve these goals through three core features:

1. Quality-adjusted payments for EMS innovations. Provide new payment options for transport and treatment in place following a 911 call Tie payment to performance milestones to hold participants accountable for quality

2. Support for aligned regional markets. Make cooperative agreements available to local governments, its designees, or other entities that operate or have authority over one or more 911 dispatches acting on their behalf in regions where selected model participants operate Focus funding on the establishment of medical triage lines to ensure appropriate use of EMS resources and advance multi-payer adoption to support overall success and sustainability.

3. Enhanced monitoring and enforcement. Build accountability through the monitoring of specific quality metrics and adverse events Include robust enforcement to ensure patient safety and program integrity

Who can participate in the model?
The key participants in the ET3 Model will be Medicare-enrolled ambulance service suppliers and hospital-owned ambulance providers. In addition, to advance regional alignment, local governments, their designees, or other entities that operate or have authority over one or more 911 dispatches in geographic areas where ambulance suppliers and providers have been selected to participate in the model will have an opportunity to apply for cooperative agreement funding.
Together, ambulance suppliers and providers will focus on direct services, while local governments, their designees, or other entities that operate or have authority over one or more 911 dispatches will create a supportive structure to ensure successful and sustainable delivery of those services.

Ambulance Suppliers and Providers will support EMS innovation by transporting Medicare beneficiaries to currently covered destinations (e.g., ED ) or alternative destinations, and by providing treatment in place with a qualified health care practitioner (on site or via telehealth). Local Governments, its designees, or other entities that operate or have authority over one or more 911 dispatcheswill promote successful model implementation by establishing a medical triage line for low-acuity calls received via their 911 dispatch system.

Who is eligible for the model interventions?
Any individual who calls 911 and is connected to a dispatch system that has incorporated a medical triage line under the model would be screened for eligibility for medical triage services prior to ambulance initiation. Upon arriving on scene, participating ambulance suppliers and providers may triage Medicare FFS beneficiaries to one of the model’s interventions upon ambulance dispatch following a 911 call. As part of a multi-payer alignment strategy, the Innovation Center will encourage ET3 Model participants to partner with additional payers, including state Medicaid agencies, to provide similar interventions to all people in their geographic areas.

How may Medicare beneficiaries and their families benefit from the ET3 model?
Participating ambulance suppliers and providers will have greater flexibility regarding where and how a beneficiary receives care following an emergency. By paying for ambulance transport to new destinations or treatment in place for beneficiaries with lower-acuity needs, beneficiaries will gain new ways of accessing care settings during an emergency. As a result, the model may allow beneficiaries to avoid hours spent in the ED as well as reduce exposure to hospital-acquired conditions.

How will funding be awarded?
The Innovation Center anticipates releasing a Request for Applications (RFA) in Summer 2019 to solicit Medicare-enrolled ambulance suppliers and providers. Once participants have been selected and announced, the Innovation Center anticipates issuing a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) in Fall 2019 for up to 40 of two-year cooperative agreements, available to local governments, their designees, or other entities that operate or have authority over one or more 911 dispatches in geographic locations where ambulance suppliers and providers have been selected to participate.
The Innovation Center anticipates utilizing a phased approach with up to three rounds of RFAs, up to two releases of NOFOs, and staggered performance start dates. The staged approach across multiple application rounds is designed to advance key design elements of the ET3 Model and optimize overall impact, including regional uptake of its innovations and multi-payer alignment.

What is the model timeline?
The ET3 Model will have a five-year performance period. The anticipated start date is January 2020. The performance period for all participants, regardless of start date, will end at the same time; thus, only applicants selected through the first RFA will participate for the full five years.

Resources and Support
For more information on the ET3 Model, please visit: https://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/et3/. If stakeholders have questions on the ET3 Model, they can send an email to ET3Model@cms.hhs.gov.

IMPORTANT EMS and NEMT Industry News

IMPORTANT EMS and NEMT Industry News – CMS announced a new reimbursement model, the Emergency Triage, Treat and Transport (ET3) today.

This incredible model will make it possible for participating ambulance suppliers and providers to partner with qualified health care practitioners to deliver treatment in place (either on-the-scene or through telehealth) and with alternative destination sites (such as primary care doctors’ offices or urgent-care clinics) to provide care for Medicare beneficiaries following a medical emergency for which they have accessed 911 services. 

 

HHS Announcement – https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2019/02/14/hhs-launches-innovative-payment-model-new-treatment-transport-options.html#

Fact Sheet- https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/emergency-triage-treat-and-transport-et3-model

Live Stream – Page, Wolfberg and Wirth (PWW) did a fantastic job live streaming this announcement on FB –https://www.facebook.com/pwwemslaw/videos/878428249164612/

 

LogistiCare’s Peter Hicks Named to NEMTAC Board

Industry Association is working to improve safety and operational standards for non-emergency medical transportation.

January 29, 2019 10:00 ET | Source: LogistiCare

Atlanta, Jan. 29, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — LogistiCare, the nation’s largest non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) broker, today announced that Peter Hicks is a founding member of the Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission (NEMTAC) board of directors.

Hicks, assistant general manager of LogistiCare’s Texas operations is one of eight medical and transportation industry professionals on the nonprofit healthcare organization’s board. As part of his duties, he will serve on the commission’s certification, and resource and conference advisory boards.

“It’s an honor to work with some of our industry’s top professionals in raising NEMT standards,” Hicks said. “NEMTAC’S dedication to promoting safe medical transport aligns with LogistiCare’s commitment to putting members first through use of innovative technology, comprehensive oversight and quality service.”

NEMTAC, founded in 2018, offers national accreditation for non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) companies, agencies, groups and individuals (non-ambulance). NEMTAC standards represent industry best practices to provide consistent high-quality customer care, safe vehicle operations and ethical business practices. In addition to accreditation, NEMTAC offers basic and advanced education and training certificate programs to individuals working in and seeking a career in the NEMT industry.

The standards under development, in many cases, will exceed those established by state or local regulators, represent the industry’s best practices and will help promote consistent, high-quality customer care, safe vehicle operations and ethical business practices. In addition to accreditation, the organization offers basic and advanced education and training certificate programs to individuals working in or seeking careers in NEMT.

Hicks joined LogistiCare in November 2017, following a distinguished career in emergency medical, emergency management and fire services across Texas, including Bastrop County.

For more information about NEMTAC, visit http://www.nemtac.org.

About LogistiCare
LogistiCare, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Providence Service Corporation (NASDAQ: PRSC), is the nation’s largest manager of non-emergency medical transportation programs for state governments and managed care organizations. Its range of services includes call center management, network credentialing, vendor payment management and non-emergency medical transport management. In 2017, the company maintained a 99 percent complaint-free service rate while managing over 65 million trips and more than 24 million eligible riders. For more information, visit www.logisticare.com.

About NEMTAC
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 www.nemtac.org.

Closing the gap on healthcare quality: Ratings for medical transportation providers, not just health systems

Written by: Brandan McNiff, Director of Transportation, RoundTrip

When healthcare systems coordinate transportation for their patients, often they rely on the NEMT (non emergency medical transportation) network to provide that service. Yet most healthcare systems take for granted knowing if the transportation provider has been certified, is qualified and maintains a compliance standard that meets or even exceeds the “quality standards” for the industry.

While accreditation and quality-scoring for health systems are very well known and respected, such as HCAHPS surveys, there hasn’t been a designated entity in place to set the standards for NEMT until now.

Fortunately, there are NEMT providers that have set their own standards and provide exemplary service to their clients. But without a “formal standard”, the benchmarks have become very subjective and allow for variations between transportation providers. This has led to patients and health systems experiencing widely different interactions with the NEMT network.

Upon the formation of Roundtrip, it was my responsibility and goal to ensure that our provider network was appropriately licensed and credentialed and met the state/federal certification requirements to provide safe and timely transport. As we embarked on this journey, I very quickly identified the transportation providers who would fit into our mold.

Drawing on nearly three decades of experience in medical transportation, I was able to quickly identify the providers who would meet the quality standards of what we sought:

  • Ongoing employee training program
  • Defined clinical and patient experience practices
  • Documented fleet maintenance program
  • Quality standards for all employees
  • Service recovery programs

However, what I found was a smattering of these things, and each was tailored to an internal measure of standard that was measured against itself. In other words, unlike the Ambulance Services, there was not an external means of peer review to ensure that the quality metrics mattered.

Through no fault of the providers, as they all shared a vision of excellence, they had a missing link: An external scorecard by a peer review committee.
Until recently, these providers did not have a peer group to help them set attainable goals and measurable standards. In 2018, the Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission (NEMTAC) was formed to do just that.

The task to raise the bar in any industry is best accomplished when you have a level set of criteria and several teams working on raising it. The creation of the Accreditation Commission will help set acceptable standards by working with all employee levels within a transportation company to develop, monitor and maintain an acceptable industry standard.

Now, for the first time, Roundtrip can offer to their health system and their patient clients that they can take comfort in knowing their NEMT provider is qualified, certified and meets the new measurement of the ‘industry standard”.

This is the new way of driving positive change in patient experience from the very beginning to the very end of the patient journey.