Scenario: You have a doctor’s appointment but no way to get there. You’ve asked your friends, you’ve asked your family, but no one is available. This appointment is really important! What do you do? You look for medical transportation.
At Patients Rising Concierge, we hear about patient transportation issues often. That’s because the options available to patients are poorly understood. Some folks may have heard of it but don’t know where or how to find it.
Emergency medical transportation – ambulance services for emergency medical conditions.
Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) – transport for people who need assistance getting to and from medical appointments.
Here are Several Ways to Find Medical Transportation
Medicare Part B / Medicare Advantage
Medicare Part A and B generally do not cover non-emergency medical transportation, but some Medicare Advantage programs might. These plans may cover non-emergent transportation if your medical condition could worsen during transport. A doctor would need to provide a written order.
Medicaid’s Non-Emergency Medical Transporation
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has links and a fact sheet to help navigate non-emergent transportation. If you qualify for Medicaid, you can contact your local social services office to help arrange that as well. Here is more information from info and fact sheets from CMS.gov.
Other Health Insurance Plan
If you have insurance through companies such as BlueCross BlueShield or MVP, or a Marketplace plan or Employer Sponsored Plan, you can search through their website or patient portal for “patient transportation”, “non-emergency medical transportation”. You can also contact your plan representatives to ask directly.
New York City’s Access-A-Ride costs the same as a bus or train fare
Cities and States will sometimes have transportation options for patients. For example, New York City has the Access-A-Ride service which they make available for “eligible customers with disabilities or health conditions that prevent them from using the public buses and subways for some or all of their trips.” In New York City’s case the fee is the same as it is for a bus or train.
You can search to see if your municipality has an ambulette or patient transport option either by
- using the Patients Rising Concierge tool (see below), or
- searching terms like “disability transportation + [your zip code]” or “non-emergency medical transportation + [your zip code]”
You can also call your local county government’s office to see what programs locally they may provide. Many have volunteer transportation services, especially for the more rural areas.
Private Transportation Options
If you’re in a more populated area, companies such as Uber and Lyft have services to provide non-emergency medical transportation to and from appointments.
For caregivers who take care of elderly parents, AARP has some great information on how to find a ride for your loved one when you cannot provide it.
NAMI the National Alliance on Mental Illness understands that many who cannot afford transportation miss vital appointments. They work with the Medical Transportation Access Coalition to help provide rides to those in need.
Your doctor’s office may also have some information on low cost/free transportation to appointments. The office staff could be able to provide some information; you just have to ask!
Depending on the needs of the patient, these websites can provide some information on different types of transportation options:
www.mtm-inc.net/locations/ (Medical Transportation Management)
Patients Rising Concierge
In Patients Rising Concierge we research programs and services to help solve your problems, and teach you how to do the same.
During the Coronavirus, many Americans came face to face with completely new challenges, like food insecurity, housing instability, loss of work and health insurance, or difficulty finding a safe place to get treatments for chronic diseases. The Concierge service was there to help by finding resources that could help those people on the local, state and federal level.
Patients Rising Concierge is free for anyone to use. Reach out. We can help.
How to Use the Concierge Web Navigator
Samantha Smith is an advocate, health & wellness coach, and the President of G-PACT, a nonprofit patient support group for gastroparesis. She lives with a handful of chronic illnesses while working to help others with theirs. Advocating has become part of her passion and purpose in life. She lives in upstate New York, where she enjoys running in the warmer weather and complains when she has to run in the cold. She’s organized fundraisers, lobbied congress, spoken at conferences, and been a part of many awareness campaigns for chronic illnesses.