Last Updated on February 16, 2021 by Randy Cherry
In some cases, going home in a taxi cab or by other means of public transportation is not feasible or appropriate after having surgery or another medical procedure. This is when non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) is beneficial. A quality NEMT provider will match medical staff with the patient to ensure the best possible care. The patient will be fully assisted to the vehicle and transported safely to their home or another destination as quickly as possible.
NEMT services are often used in the following scenarios:
• Checkups at the doctor when family members or friends are not able to accompany the patient
• A safe ride to and from an outpatient surgical procedure
• A safe ride to and from follow-up appointments after a medical treatment
An NEMT service utilizes various vehicle types, depending on need:
• Ambulances with full equipment. In a non-emergency situation, the lights and the sirens will not be used.
• Wheelchair vans. These are equipped with liftgates to ensure safe transfer from the curb to the vehicle.
• Medical sedans. This vehicle type works much like a taxi and is suitable for those who do not need a wheelchair.
• Shuttle buses. These are appropriate for a large group of people from a nursing home or other situation.
Choosing a NEMT requires a great deal of consideration. The most important thing is getting a caring and professional service at an affordable price.
Long distance medical transportation cost is calculated on several factors. There is a pick-up fee, a staff fee, a distance fee and a specialized care fee. The charges for these services can vary greatly between providers. A ballpark figure would be the flat fees for pick up, plus mileage and personnel.
Medicare Coverage for NEMT
It is possible that Medicare will cover at least partial charges for using an NEMT. This requires several specific conditions to be present:
• There must be a genuine medical need for the medical transport
• All other methods of transportation would be harmful to the health of the patient
• The patient is traveling for the purpose of a diagnosis and treatment plan
• The patient has been given a note from their doctor stating that NEMT is necessary due to the person’s medical condition
If any of the above conditions apply, the cost of the NEMT will be covered by Medicare. It should be noted that Medicare will not cover the fees involved with taking NEMT for follow-up doctor visits. The patient will be responsible for these costs.
Private Insurance Coverage
While the law in every state requires all insurance providers to include ambulance service in an emergency situation, most carriers do not cover NEMT fees. The plans that do include this service have it listed as a specific benefit in the individual’s policy. Before hiring an NEMT, the patient and their family should make sure that insurance coverage is clear, so there are no surprises when service is urgently needed.
Whether Medicare, private insurance or the patient is paying for NEMT, it is very important to find the best safety, experience and value for the money. Medical Transport Services is always standing by for all non-emergency transport needs. The company is accredited, licensed, insured and will provide professional, compassionate care for patients.