Transportation has currently become a vital determining factor of the streamlined healthcare system in rural as well as urban regions. The availability of proper and trusted transportation facilities creates a huge impact on a person’s accessibility of streamlined healthcare amenities along with the ability to procure nutritious food and medication inclusive of arranging for nurses or carers at home.
In the case of both rural and urban populations, people need non-emergency medical transportation services for purposes like:
●Transporting elderly and disabled people
●Low-income families and individuals
●People having special health conditions
Non-emergency medical transportation is a boon for families with elderly people or disabled people or people with chronic illness conditions as in most cases the people have to visit their doctors regularly and at times they have to travel for long hours which can be painful if the transportation facilities are not well-coordinated or lack the basic medical facilities. The non-emergency transportation services are designed to transport patients or elderly people safely and securely to the doctor’s clinic or hospital during regular visits or any medical emergency.
What are the consequences of lacking non-emergency transportation for Medicaid beneficiaries?
According to some studies, Medicaid beneficiaries have said to report 10 times more about missing their doctor’s appointments due to lack of transportation. So an effective transportation system greatly determines whether a majority of such population has timely access to medical facilities and the healthcare system or not.
More often elderly people, people with disabilities, and people with chronic illness face greater challenges in reaching out to healthcare facilities, and in fact, their requirement is comparatively bigger. They might need monitoring on a regular basis. Additionally, living in rural areas away from proper healthcare facilities affects their overall quality of life as well, which simultaneously impacts their safety and health conditions.
Some of the adverse effects of non-availability of transportation facilities include:
●The number of delayed trips or missed trips to doctors increases.
●Ongoing treatment processes disrupted greatly for chronically ill patients
●Longer traveling hours mean greater transportation costs and this simultaneously affects the healthcare decisions of patients.
●Longer travel time affects patients mentally and physically, thereby adding to the stress.
●The use of medicine like insulin becomes infrequent as patients stay far away from their healthcare facility.
Studies have further shown that offering non emergency medical transportation to elderly and disabled patients is not only very cost-effective; it also helps improve one’s quality of life. Research further shows that improvement in the quality of life and reduction in healthcare costs would mostly offset the costs for non-emergency medical transportation facilities. For instance, missing a preventive care service or routine check-up due to poor transportation system can eventually result in poor healthcare management, anytime need of emergency care as well as preventative hospitalizations.
So investing in transportation can significantly improve health outcomes in the case of Medicaid beneficiaries. NEMT will bring in both direct and intangible benefits for eligible members.
Why non-emergency medical transportation facilities?
●Providing non-emergency transportation options for low-income, chronically ill, elderly, and disabled residents help to decrease the occurrence of hospitalizations and frequent visits to nursing homes. This also helps to keep health costs in control. Additionally, this type of comfort care transportation gives both rural and urban residents the comfort of easy access to healthcare facilities and helps them to avoid isolation.
●In fact, with non-emergency transportation facilities, transporting wheelchairs with ease, became easier as these transportation facilities come equipped with basic medical necessities and have trained professionals for helping with traveling.
●These transportation systems also offer wheelchair patient transport facilities that make things comparatively easier for disabled patients and patients with acute illnesses.
●Studies have also shown that Medicaid beneficiaries experienced major barriers to timely access to medical facilities including treatment facilities simply due to lack of proper transportation facilities. Addressing transportation needs help to reduce incidences of patient readmission to hospitals.
Thus, effective and fully-functional non emergency medical transportation is the need of the hour for Medicaid beneficiaries who usually miss out on their primary medical care due to the non-availability of good transportation facilities. The government should take considerable steps in this regard, making transportation technology-friendly, cost-effective, easily accessible for this group while ensuring a great patient experience going forward.