While it’s concerning that some people are apparently calling ride-share services like Uber when they need to get to the hospital in an emergency, others are wondering if ride-sharing or alternative services have their place in non-emergency medical transport.
Many people call ambulances when they need treatment, even if it’s not an emergency, because they have no other transport available. A study by the University of Kansas found that as Uber entered different cities, its presence reduced per capita ambulance usage rates by 7%.
This might be a good thing, as ambulances are an expensive form of transport and should only be used when medical assistance is needed on the way to care. The help might also improve efficiency for emergency medical transport. Efficiency is key, as healthcare costs soar and private ambulance companies struggle to stay afloat.
Assisted living facilities, skilled nursing homes, and home health agencies might want to start partnering with ride share services, or be aware of new services, such as Ford’s new GoRide, announced last week, with specially equipped vans to transport patients in the Detroit area, that books rides ahead of time. Uber Health, a service that allows providers to order rides for patients on a HIPAA-compliant platform.
New changes in Medicare managed care plans (such as Medicare Advantage) may open up coverage beneficiaries to use services for non-emergency rides. In February 2018, CMS proposed changes to Medicare Advantage supplemental benefits, which would include nonskilled care that increase health and improve quality of life.