As of December 2020, modifications were made to the Social Security Act to make non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) a mandatory Medicaid benefit. NEMT is classified as any transportation service provided to individuals who are not in immediate danger, but who require more specific assistance than public transportation methods can provide. As transportation is also a key social determinant of health, this change has affected many people for the better.
The rapid increase in growth that NEMT services are experiencing is due in no small part to the positive impact this growing niche of care has had on individuals with differences in ability – those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), injuries that impact mobility or cognitive abilities, or chronic medical conditions. MACPAC (Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission) reported that individuals who are eligible based on disability, age, or who had chronic conditions were most likely to use the NEMT benefit. The report also indicated that over a third of NEMT users (34.5%) had intellectual or developmental disabilities.
The NEMT benefit has offered members with differences in ability the following advantages to significantly improve their quality of life and ability to stay healthy, indicating the importance of its ongoing availability.
An Extra Bit of Care
NEMT offers an opportunity for transport that can go beyond what public transport can. The local buses, subways, or streetcars can’t help an individual find where they need to go when going to or from their services. They have to serve too many people to provide individualized care like that. With NEMT, they can at least help individuals get where they need to go when they need some extra assistance. This can make the difference between someone missing or making an appointment or ride.
Stepping Out on Your Own
Mobility contributes to an individual’s independence and self-sufficiency, something many of us take for granted and might have trouble grasping how much of your life it can affect. Many disabilities or conditions negatively impact one’s capacity to get around, which can affect an individual’s physical, emotional, and mental health as a result.
Reliance on family members can be tough for both the individual needing assistance and those offering to help. A indicated that NEMT enables individuals with disabilities—especially those involving mobility—to leave home with less difficulty than before. This kind of change can help people have a greater sense of independence and social connection.
Emergency medical transport does not offer door-to-door services. These transport services are primarily home-to-hospital both because of the time they demand and to properly allocate funds set aside to pay the EMTs that operate most of the medical transport a hospital would have to offer. As their name suggests, Emergency Medical Technicians are specifically trained to handle emergent medical situations. Using their time to transport individuals not in immediate danger could be seen as a budgetary mismatch.
With NEMT, patients are transported from their homes to the pre-determined location and returned home safely. This decreases their dependency on loved ones, family members, or friends to ensure they return home safely from appointments, errands, or social events.
NEMT goes past supporting independence and mobility; it provides greater peace of mind and a higher quality of life for those who use it.
Reduce Stress & Anxiety
Transportation can be stressful for individuals who need specialized care, due in part to behavioral concerns.NEMT services provide the support needed in tandem with the right vehicles and trained professionals to accommodate all manner of needs. This specialized and exact way of approaching transport helps circumvent obstacles that behavioral concerns may present. An ever-increasing emphasis on value-based care in health care makes these kinds of accomodations essential.
If you’re looking to learn more about the benefits that NEMT services grant individuals with differences in ability, contact Momentm today, we’d love to chat.