We must keep things as equitable as possible in NEMT. There are so many socioeconomic factors that contribute to how individuals’ access to healthcare may or may not be limited, and it’s our responsibility to stay aware of these limitations so we can do our best to circumvent them.
These kinds of concerns are why we were happy the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has widened the scope of Section 1557 of the ACA after being narrowed by a previous administration.
According to the HHS, this measure further supports and “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in certain health programs and activities.”
While we suggest taking a closer look for yourself, as this is an important rule for NEMT transportation brokers and all other professionals in the industry, here are some of the key takeaways. This revised measure:
- Extends the scope of Section 1557 to include HHS programs and activities.
- Enforces requirements set for any organization receiving federal funding through requiring policies regarding civil rights policies.
- Requiring staff training on how to properly support people with limited English proficiency, as well as how to accommodate those whose differences in ability affect their speech.
- Additional requirements for any involved organizations to provide a non-discrimination notice that also informs readers about the availability of language and hearing aid assistance.
- Clarifies that telehealth services are part of this regulated group.
- Includes Medicare Part B under the category of “federal financial assistance”.
- Strengthens measures regarding religious freedom objections.
The above doesn’t cover it all, but we wanted to zero in on these particular measures so we can look forward and see how we can all look at our training, use of NEMT transportation technology, and current policies to be in line with these new and renewed measures.
What Can an NEMT Professional Do?
Given the measures under Section 1557, it would behoove NEMT transportation brokers and other providers to revisit their training and policies to ensure that:
- All current employees are up to date and have been briefed on these new developments.
- All new employees are trained properly on how to operate per these regulations.
- Current organizational policies support these regulations and adjust accordingly if they don’t.
- There are measures in place to communicate all of this to any stakeholders.
As with other developments in the industry, it’s best to stay ahead of the curve so you can keep delivering excellent quality of care while staying compliant. We highly recommend keeping an eye on what NEMTAC has to say if you don’t already. If you need to, you’re always welcome to reach out to the TripSpark team for guidance.