- San Francisco-based Lyft has netted another major health system partner, less than a month after announcing a non-emergency medical transportation deal with Sutter Health.
- The ride-hailing business is partnering with Chicago-based national hospital operator CommonSpirit and a large transportation logistics company to provide patients on-demand rides home or to another safe destination, such as a homeless shelter, following discharge.
- The deal with the 21-state, $29 billion system is the latest move from Lyft as it jostles for dominance in the growing NEMT market with rival Uber Health, which just announced plans to double in staff size this year.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both Lyft and Catholic nonprofit CommonSpirit may benefit from the partnership if Lyft receives reimbursement for ferrying patients to and from appointments. Potentially, the health system can fill more appointment slots on its schedule and get higher payments from payers for improved health outcomes.
CommonSpirit, created in 2018 through the merger of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health, has been looking for way to cut costs across its 142 hospitals and more than 700 care sites after it posted a net operating loss of $602 million in its more recent financial statement.
The offering is currently available in California and Arizona, with plans to launch in additional markets throughout the year where CommonSpirit has a presence, such as the Bay Area and Central Coast of California. The provider also plans to offer additional transportation use cases in the future.
"Our goal this year is to begin to offer Lyft rides to financially constrained patients who need transportation to medical appointments as well as to those patients who need wheelchair accessible rides," Christine Brocato, VP of Strategic Innovation at CommonSpirit, told Healthcare Dive via email. An estimated 3.6 million patients can't access medical care due to a lack of transportation.
Brocato said the Catholic nonprofit has piloted NEMT since mid-2019, providing 450 free rides to patients. CommonSpirit saw savings of 35% to 60% from the trial, depending on the market, and patients reported satisfaction with the service.
CommonSpirit staff call for a ride through the platform of LogistiCare Circulation, which has worked with Lyft since 2017 and says it is the largest NEMT manager in the country. LogistiCare then assigns the patient to a Lyft ride if eligible and sends a confirmation and price estimate to CommonSpirit before the patient is informed. Medical staff and social workers can monitor the ride in real time.
Competitor Uber is similarly investing in the lucrative NEMT space, pledging to double the size of its roughly 15-person team over 2020. But Lyft's healthcare team currently includes 100 people, and also plans to grow in 2020, Lyft's VP of Healthcare Megan Callahan told Healthcare Dive. The rideshare player is currently working with the country's 10 biggest payers, nine out of the biggest 10 health systems and nine out of the biggest 10 NEMT brokers, Callahan said.