- American Medical Response has partnered with rideshare firm Lyft to provide nonemergency transportation for patients in 42 states where the ambulance company operates.
- Announcing the deal Wednesday, AMR said it will allow hospitals, clinics and health plans to request and pay for rides for patients who don’t have access to other transportation.
- Hospitals and caregivers can arrange for Lyft rides via AMR’s One Call phone or online portal services.
While millions have gained health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, many still face barriers to care because of transportation. Community hospitals average 62 no-shows a day, at an annual cost of $3 million, according to a study by BMC Health Services Research. For teaching hospitals, no-show and late arrival rates average 25% and 31%, respectively.
Patients with multiple chronic conditions, the poor and the elderly are especially likely to need assistance with transportation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lack of access to transportation, along with finances and scarcity of specialists, particularly in rural areas, partially accounts for delayed care and unmet medical needs.
The efforts by ridesharing companies are good news not only for hospitals, but for the federal government as well, which spends an estimated $2.7 billion a year on nonemergency medical transportation. That figure is expected to grow under Medicaid expansion. To boost ACA enrollment for 2017, HHS partnered with Lyft to provide discounted rides during Open Enrollment events last fall.