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Nonemergency Transportation: An Urgent Need

Thursday, September 6, 2018
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The largest American generation, baby boomers, are turning 65.  In fact, an average of 10,000 a day are hitting that big birthday. This is on top of the 52.5 million people according to Pew Research Center already over the age of 65.  As a result, the demand for a critical health care need is growing—nonemergency transportation for individuals to bring them to and from their doctor appointments.  

For the aging population’s needs, transportation to medical appointments requires more than just someone who can pick them up and drop them off. Many older people can’t use taxis or car services because they require skilled drivers who are capable of transporting someone who may be frail or use special equipment like a wheelchair or an oxygen tank.

It isn’t just aging Americans who need reliable transportation to doctor appointments. Cancer, dialysis, physical therapy, recovering addicts, participants in drug trials and low-income patients are among those who require regular doctor visits but have no way of getting to them.

THE COST OF MISSED APPOINTMENTS

Because of the hassles of finding drivers who can meet their medical needs, approximately 30 percent of all patients skip their doctor appointments, according to a report by health care technology firm SCI Solutions. Patient Engagement HIT estimates that 3.6 million individuals have no access to medical care because they have transportation barriers. As a result, no-shows cost the health care industry $150 billion in lost revenue each year, since each unused time slot costs a doctor an average of $200. What’s more, missing an appointment could snowball into additional costs if untreated mild illnesses turn into chronic conditions that require expensive care.

ADDRESSING THE NEED

Several technology startups have begun to address the need for transportation in health care, and experts see the demand growing. According to the Pew Research Center, about 52.5 million people (16 percent of the total population) are over the age of 65, and that number is expected to increase to 73.1 million (21 percent of the total population) by 2030. About 21 percent of those over 65 don’t drive, and many of those don’t have family members who can take them to appointments.

Some of these specialized transportation needs include:

  • Drivers that can extend transportation beyond the vehicle – helping patients through doors and into their vehicles
  • Certified drivers that know how to use wheelchairs, can accommodate specialty equipment like oxygen tanks and work with individuals with some cognitive problems

Especially in areas that lack public transportation, patients are at times forgoing treatment. The good news is that several tech start-ups are building solutions to this growing problem such as RoundTripCirculation Inc.and Kaizen Health.

 

 

 

References

Zywave

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/09/business/health-care-transportation.html

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.

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