Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) is a very broad term periodically causing confusion for prospective providers looking to caterto the transportation needs of the elderly and disabled.
We frequently receive inquiries for starting a “patient transportation business” and an “assisted transportation business.” Although the terms “patient” and “assisted” can be complimentary, they can actually be quite different which directly influences your business model and associated profit earning potential.
“Patient” transportation is typically associated with hospitals, emergency departments, and treatment centers. The term “patient” denotes clients who are hospital in-patients being transported between medical facilities or requiring wheelchair or stretcher transportation when being discharged.
In our previous article, “The Five Biggest Mistakes When Starting a Medical Transportation Business,” we explain the importance for being wheelchair and stretcher accessible to earn more money, integrate your services into the missions of major facilities, and secure contracts and service agreements.
“Assisted” transportation is more general and refers to anyone requiring physical assistance, additional time for mobility, or extended services during transport. Assisted services can be rendered by anyone with a sedan or even fixed route paratransit services.
When posed with inquiries regarding starting a “patient” versus “assisted” transportation business we start by asking five basic questions:
- What type of business do you want to create?
- How much money do you want to make?
- Do you have prior experience?
- How much startup capital do you have to invest?
- Are there hospitals, medical centers, rehabilitation and nursing facilities in your community?
In asking these questions we often discover most providers would like to earn more money, integrate their services into the mission of hospitals and facilities, and secure contracts and services agreements. But, they are often confused or lack understanding in what is necessary to build the type of service they desire.
Many rideshare and taxi drivers who contact us explain they are “in the medical transportation industry” because they periodically transport “assisted” clients to medical appointments. Yet, they are not a credentialed vendor for any area hospital or medical facility. They’re not equipped to meet the needs of such facilities and, thus, have no contracts or service agreements.
Hospitals, facilities, and medical groups will not use providers who cannot meet adequately meet the needs of their wheelchair or stretcher patients. Further, for liability purposes, hospitals and facilities cannot use providers who don’t comply with their credentialing requirements.
Uber data suggests drivers earn $13.25 per hour after hours. Click here to learn more.
There is nothing wrong with remaining small, operating as an independent operator. Serving as a taxi, rideshare, or traditional assisted ambulatory transportation service has merit. However, the longevity of such a business model has a self life that is quickly expiring.
With the coming introduction of driverless cars and an increasing number of municipalities preparing to leverage such technology, the long-term demand for independent operators driving sedans is limited.
To build a thriving “patient” transportation business, one that meets the growing needs of the elderly and disabled, you need to be wheelchair/stretcher accessible and integrate your services with local hospitals and medical facilities, nursing homes and rehabilitation center, assisted and retirement communities.
Click here to learn more about our growing industry, how to protect your capital investment, and build your NEMT business with sound strategic strategies.