Not all non-emergency medical transportation managers are created equal. From the program's geographical footprint and vendor selection to vehicle options and disaster recovery safeguards, there are numerous factors to consider when selecting an NEMT solution.
According to a recent Medical Transportation Access Coalition study, the right NEMT manager can offer more than $41,000 in ROI per each beneficiary per year. To realize those benefits, Medicaid organizations need an NEMT solution that's reliable, stable and easy to work with. Unforeseen problems can create delays during the rollout process, preventing patients and beneficiaries from taking advantage of critical and potentially life-saving NEMT services.
When vetting different NEMT managers, decision-makers for managed care organizations and Medicaid groups should look at their implementation track records to see who has a history of fast, stress-free program rollouts and who has a long, troubled history with system launches.
Need more convincing? Consider these three reasons to make seamless NEMT system implementation a priority during the selection process:
1. Avoid costly IT problems
Due to the emergence of digital platforms, connected devices and other internet-driven technologies, the medical landscape is a very different place than it was just 10 years ago. Nowhere is that more evident than the scheduling process. Whereas patients were accustomed to making a doctor's appointment over the phone, now they have options to schedule consultations, treatments and other sessions online, via mobile applications or through other digital portals.
That's in addition to the tried-and-true phone call, which remains as popular as ever: A 2017 Kyruus survey found that roughly two-thirds of patients still prefer to make medical appointments over the phone. Researchers concluded that such preferences were largely generational in nature, with older beneficiaries gravitating toward phone calls while younger individuals were more comfortable with digital-based platforms.
Medicaid beneficiaries are an extremely diverse group, with children, the elderly and patients with disabilities representing approximately two-thirds of program members. Meanwhile, one-third (28.1 million) of patients are adults below the age of 65. While call centers may receive the lion's share of scheduling requests, the consumerization effect of online and digital appointment-making could easily turn the tide over the next few years. The more patients encounter online scheduling in other walks of life (booking a reservation at a restaurant, for instance), the more accustomed they will be with it and eventually expect that same feature from their health care providers.
As such, there's no one right way to schedule an appointment. Any competent NEMT manager will support a variety of scheduling methods to satisfy all beneficiaries and program members.
Supporting all of these different communication platforms creates its own set of challenges, requiring each one to seamlessly integrate and create a unified scheduling system. That means call centers, telephony systems, mobile applications and digital portals must all work harmoniously as a single NEMT ecosystem.
It's a highly complicated process and one that inexperienced NEMT managers may struggle with, resulting in launch delays and even post-launch performance issues. The last thing Medicaid groups — or their beneficiaries — want to cope with is a poorly configured NEMT system. An NEMT manager is only as good as the level of service and reliability it can offer. A timely, streamlined implementation process is the first critical step toward establishing a long-term relationship between the NEMT manager and the managed care organization. Any major problems at this stage should be recognized for the large red flags that they are.
2. Minimize member abrasion
Problems that occur during the implementation process are irritating for Medicaid organizations, but they pale in comparison with the headaches they cause for the actual beneficiaries who depend on NEMT services to reliably attend their important medical appointments.
Any kind of service delay could lead to member abrasion and reflect poorly on an organization's beneficiary satisfaction levels. Even worse, problems during the implementation process could affect system performance later on, preventing Medicaid users from scheduling transportation services with any degree of confidence.
In the worst-case scenario, an unidentified or uncorrected implementation issue could result in a patient being unable to schedule an important treatment session — dialysis, for instance — effectively putting their health at risk. Or, a patient could find themselves in a situation where they cannot get through to the NEMT manager in order to schedule a return trip home, leaving them stranded at a medical facility with no viable transportation options.
A Medicaid organization's NEMT manager needs to be reliable and consistent. That starts with an efficient , stress-free system implementation.
3. Start seeing faster NEMT ROI
The reason NEMT solutions are such valuable services for Medicaid and managed care organizations is that they help reduce the cost of patient treatment over the long term. Many Medicaid members rely wholly on NEMT services to get to their recurring treatments and consultations that help keep them healthy and avoid serious ailments.
The same MTAC study cited earlier found that 58% of beneficiaries would not be able to attend any of their medical appointments without non-emergency medical transportation services. Roughly 10% even went so far as to say they would likely die if they did not have access to NEMT solutions through their health care providers.
From that perspective, NEMT services are a win-win for beneficiaries and managed care organizations alike. While the patient health benefits speak for themselves, health care providers are able to reduce their costs when members have access to preventive care options and have chronic ailments treated frequently.
MTAC calculated the ROI of NEMT solutions per 30,000 members to total $40 million a month or $480 million a year. Any issues during implementation will only delay those immense cost-savings benefits, and health care providers could actually see expenses go up in the short term as they grapple with integration, configuration or other IT problems.
A seamless implementation process helps the NEMT solution be up and running as quickly as possible with as few bugs or issues as possible — and that means Medicaid organizations can begin the high level of ROI promised by the best non-emergency medical transportation managers.
LogistiCare's long history in the NEMT space, vast technology resources and experienced project management teams help that each implementation is completed successfully in a timely manner. Our implementation specialists will work with you through every step of the process, from contracting to launch to post-implementation management.
LogistiCare uses a highly coordinated approach, incorporating members from our sales, operations, client services, underwriting, facilities and IT teams, among many others, to comprehensively support every aspect of implementation.
Integrating a new NEMT system is a major undertaking with high stakes for Medicaid organizations and beneficiaries alike. With LogistiCare, our experienced team of experts and our long track record of success, you can trust that you are in good hands.