NEMT: Revolutionizing the Life of Differently Abled People

They say that health is wealth. And this is true! Only some people can move freely like everyone else. Some people have barriers or restrictions in terms of physical mobility. In such scenarios, special needs are required to move the individual from one location to the other. These needs are especially needed when taking a person to and from medical or rehabilitation appointments.

The introduction of NEMT makes this whole process easy. Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) is the process of providing transportation to patients or health consumers who have mobility problems or face exceptional barriers in visiting their medical care professionals for appointments.

What is NEMT?

If we dive deep into the meaning of NEMT, then the term is defined as Non-Emergency Medical Transportation. This means that the facility is not critical; instead, it is provided to beneficiaries who only need a means of transport. So, why do people need transportation when they can visit the health professional themselves? This is the question. They can’t!

NEMT specifically caters to the needs of individuals who have cognitive, mental, physical, or developmental issues. However, it is not limited to such people; the facility intends to facilitate people who have transport needs that conventional means are unable to fulfill.

Additionally, scenarios such as not having a driver’s license, being the only person at home with special needs, not owning a functional means of transportation, or even waiting for service providers can be a single-person household. These are the factors that define NEMT as a whole.

How Did It All Start?

Looking at the historical roots of where it all started, we come to a unanimous decision that the first voiced concern over this whole issue was in 1965. For the first time, it was stated that Medicaid would be the state’s mandatory responsibility. The state would be responsible for the patient’s transportation. The cost and appointment time needed to take and return from the appointment would be ensured.

In 1974, a United States district court case, Smith vs. Vowell, brought to light the need for NEMT and set the groundwork for its importance for people who could not travel, like abled people.

Mr. Smith stated that attending rehabilitation appointments while having serious health conditions was a major hurdle for him. He further said that he could not transport himself easily to and from the rehabilitation center frequently. He urged the state to provide him with medical facilities so that he could attend to the needed medical facilities at the rehabilitation center.

Given the severity of the case, Senior District Judge Thomas Clary decided in favor of Mr. Smith. The judge stated that it was the state’s responsibility to provide the medical recipient with the needed transportation resources. This sparked a new wave in the NEMT industry, marking the initiation of this facility in the coming future.

It was not until 1997 that the NEMT brokerage system came into being in Georgia. A company named LogistiCare made it possible to reduce the overall cost for individuals in the state who needed medical treatments. Medicaid account costs are greatly reduced via NEMT services provided by the company. Non-emergency medical transportation has since been a key element of the medical industry. It is going more and more when your innovations come to light.

In 2000, LogistiCare established a nationwide network of NEMT services. The company innovated greatly when it established operations and call centers. This establishment was seen all over the country, providing uninterrupted and sufficient support to clients in providing top-notch, quality services.

How Does this Whole Process Work?

A patient may have an annual physical appointment with their doctor yet need help to travel alone to the appointment. It’s also possible that you need a family member who can drive you. Simple tasks, like climbing and descending a flight of stairs, might become challenging. You might not have a car. You might not be able to drive yourself if you possess a vehicle. There are countless options and several factors that may be considered. It’s also possible that you were not feeling well enough to drive that day. These are some justifications for hiring NEMT service providers.

Once you have decided to travel, you may make use of an app or website to get in contact with a service provider. The company will connect you with a non-emergency medical transportation provider. The NEMT service will locate the nearest driver and redirect him to you. The driver will check if any special instructions are given to them prior to reaching the location. And they will follow the directions provided to them via the app.

The drivers and the personnel who accompany them are qualified and trained to handle the patient with utmost care. So, if you have a very specific need for mobility, communicating with the team is a smart decision.

Effective communication throughout the process can avoid any mishaps. Once you are safely settled in the vehicle, you will be transported to the location promptly.

What are the benefits of NEMT?

The facilities provided by companies that specialize in the NEMT offer many benefits to the patients. Let us shed some light on how they are making the whole process easier for you:

1. Access to Quality Service

If you have frequent checkups or appointments with your professional help, then NEMT is best for you! These modern-day services make it easy for you to travel despite having special needs.

These services are now strongly established, providing quick accessibility at any time. Another advantage is that you can easily call in a vehicle.

2. Safety and Security

Most vehicles are now fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and features to accommodate the patient’s requirements. For example, highly trained professionals assist in transporting wheelchairs. If you have been worried about your safety, rest assured.

To make you feel much safer, you should know that most of the professionals who provide services are highly trained. They have been nurses, medical professionals, or drivers with credible certifications to prove the record. Hence, you are guaranteed to be in the safest hands possible!

3. Independence to Travel

Modern technology has enabled patients to call transportation at any time easily. Smart solutions such as smartphone applications and websites can easily coordinate you with suitable services. You are just a call or click away from your required transportation!

This way, you will never be a burden on either of your friends or family. You would not need anyone to accompany you to a hospital or rehabilitation center; instead, highly qualified staff will assist you in every way.

4. Affordable Services

You may think of hiring a transportation service to transport your wheelchair or act as your medical transportation. But have you ever calculated the cost for the whole year? Traditional means of transport, such as ambulances and other types of vehicles, may charge a higher fee.

Meanwhile, NEMT services can cost you about ten times less than traditional services. Most companies that provide these services are subject to state rules that force them to charge you a fixed fee.

5. Mental Peace

Most means of transportation cause stress and anxiety to the patient. The scenario for no emergency medical transportation is very different. These vehicles are specially designed to accommodate the specific needs of the patient. Also, the patient will not face any discomfort or trauma while getting on or off the vehicle.

Also, the transportation process is made as smooth as possible by experienced drivers with years of experience in the industry. Overall, the patient’s overall experience is made highly comfortable and pleasant.

The Development of NEMT

Many states opted for the Deficit Reduction Act in 2005, which gave states autonomy to outsource the service. This meant that the NEMT industry could now induct brokers who could manage the whole process with the needed workforce and resources.

The act also stated that brokers could not charge a fee based on their service or business model. Instead, the service they provided would work at fixed charges that were decided by the state. Since then, many states have opted for this same model and outsourced the responsibility to brokers, who, in return, sourced transportation facility providers to join their fleets. Taxi drivers, vans, and other vehicles that could fulfill the requirements were pooled into this whole scenario to make it easier for the services to operate.

In the coming years, a new model or work came to light. Managed Care Organizations, or MCOs, came forth to join the effort to make it easier for the recipients of medical treatment. Now, you did not need to hop into your car by any means and visit the doctor or medical professional. Instead, the car would come to pick you up, and a planned approach would cater to your needs. Amazing right?

The Future of NEMT

The future of NEMT is promising and will continue to grow in the near future. Historic scenarios have shown that people in need of Medicaid have always suffered due to the lack of ample facilities. Hence, the only solution is to provide such services in the coming future, too.

The future promises people that these services will be made more cost-efficient in every way possible. With the introduction and implementation of electric vehicles, the cost of fuel can be cut down even more. Renewable resources used ass fuels can bring the cost of fuel down even more.

Autonomous driving cars are also one way to automate the whole process. Technological advancements can make it possible for the individual to be accommodated in the vehicle and transported to the medical facility, hospital, or rehabilitation facility without the need for human assistance.

Recently, home automation has become very common. Future promises promise that the process of contacting a service provider will also be automated. How would you feel if your home automation system notified you about the need to visit a health professional after the cameras have analyzed the internal condition of your body? It could be much work, but it may be possible soon.

We have also seen major innovations in robotics. While individuals might feel very dependent on wheelchairs, stretchers, or walking sticks, the future will ensure that a robotic limb will make it possible for them to get into a vehicle and visit their doctor effortlessly.

Conclusion

In the end, NEMT has enhanced the lives of many individuals who have faced physical, cognitive, developmental, or any other sort of challenges. People might think that transporting such individuals is very easy, but that is not the case. Even when they are seated in a wheelchair or a stretcher, the whole wheelchair transportation process must be taken care of with utmost care to avoid any injury.

The future is very promising for the NEMT industry, and many innovations are coming our way that will make transportation for differently abled people much easier.

Either people will visit health professionals, or health professionals will come to their homes via technological means. Either way, we know that technology has revolutionized the whole process. The benefits of technology have so far shown promising results.

The total dependency of individuals has been cut down to more than half. Now, people can order a transportation system with a click of the mouse or a tap of their finger. You do not have to wait for someone to take you to the hospital or the rehabilitation center now! In the coming days, automation will be the key to success, and AI will make it possible at a much more rapid rate. Also, NEMT services are bringing about revolutionary changes in their operational processes, strategies, and facilities.

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