After having a medical procedure, it may not be safe or convenient for a patient to use a bus or a taxi to get home. In these cases, a non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) can help. While they are mainly used to assist the elderly, they are available to anyone of any age who is disabled or otherwise needs special transportation. Quality providers assign a medical professional to care for the patient. This person will escort the patient to the transport vehicle and stay with them until they arrive at their destination.
Reasons to Use NEMT
A patient may require NEMT services for the following reasons:
• Going to medical appointments and checkups when there is no one else available to help
• Going to and returning home from an outpatient surgical procedure
• Going to and from post-surgery doctor’s appointments
Depending the medical needs of the patient, the types of vehicles used for NEMT can vary. The most common types include:
• Wheelchair vans
• Medical sedans
• Standard ambulance, without the use of lights and sirens
• Shuttle buses, which may transport a number of patients at once
There are several factors to consider when choosing a NEMT, namely that the best possible services are being provided at an affordable cost. This is what most people look at when they are selecting a provider.
NEMT Cost Calculations
When starting a search for a quality NEMT provider, the main goal is to obtain the best service and value for the money paid. The majority of people are not familiar with the calculations used to determine the medical transport services cost. Typically, the total cost of using an NEMT is based on a pick-up fee, the mileage between the starting point and the destination and the charges for any specialized care and extra staff that might be required. In addition, these costs can vary between providers, so it is best to research carefully to find the right fit for a particular budget. Overall, the total expenses for a NEMT will be the combination of pick-up, mileage and fees for staff and oxygen.
Medicare Coverage for NEMT
One option to pay for NEMT service is through Medicare. Information on the website indicates that Medicare may cover a limited amount of NEMT, provided the following conditions are met:
• There is a medical necessity for the non-emergency transport. This means the patient is unable to travel unassisted, and there is no friend or family member that can help.
• Riding in a standard passenger vehicle, bus or train will put the patient’s health in danger. This is often true of cancer patients who have compromised immune systems or those with very limited mobility.
• The method of transport is required for a patient to receive an accurate diagnosis or specialized treatment for a health condition. Patients occasionally have to travel to see a specific doctor or receive a medication that is not available where they live.
• The patient has been instructed by a doctor to use NEMT and has a written order to do so.
If any of these conditions exist, the NEMT service may be covered by Medicare. It should be noted that non-emergency transport to and from standard checkup appointments with a doctor are not covered. In that case, the patient would be responsible for those charges by using private insurance or by paying the costs directly out of pocket.
Private Insurance Coverage for NEMT
When Medicare coverage is not available for NEMT, the patient has the option of turning to their private health insurance plan. Under law, emergency ambulance service must be covered by private insurance, but this does not include non-emergency transport. The private insurers that do cover NEMT have this particular benefit clearly stated in the patient’s health plan.
Regardless of whether the patient is paying directly for non-emergency medical transport or not, there should always be value for the money that is paid. Medical Transport Services is available around the clock for any NEMT needs, both local and long distance. In most cases, arrangements can be made with a single phone call. Contact Medical Transport Services to explore options and receive a professional, detailed quote.