The 5 Key NEMT Challenges Technology Will Help Solve

In the challenge to do more with less, technology is how you do it

Our previous post in this series on the State of NEMT in 2024 talked about some of the challenges facing the industry. In this post we’re going to dive into five of the big challenges and how technology will play a key role in tackling them.

Here are the five biggest challenges we talked about in our last post facing NEMT right now:

  • Compliance and regulation
  • Customer service and satisfaction
  • System responsiveness and efficiency
  • Fraud and abuse
  • Rising costs

This isn’t an exhaustive list, and some might say there are others that are more pressing, but in talking with our customers these are the ones that come up repeatedly.

When public money is involved, you always have regulations and compliance

Whether you call it red tape or something a little less polite, government regulations are part of dealing with public money. And we know regulations can be complex, contradictory, and confusing, especially if you have overlaps between levels of government, insurers, and other agencies. Sometimes you just have to make a judgement call about what’s the “right” thing in each case and submit the paperwork accordingly.

Having a system that “knows” the rules, and is updated with any changes, takes some of the stress and guesswork out of compliance. Plus, when all the records are together in a single source of truth, it’s much easier to look back at what’s been filed before and correct mistakes.

Which brings us to compliance and compliance audits. Compliance audits are stressful in the best of times, but if you can’t easily access client records for review, the audit process is a nightmare. We’ve talked with clients about hauling out boxes and boxes of paper records for an audit or spending hours trying to consolidate and reconcile dozens of spreadsheets for an audit.

It’s much easier to have everything in a system that is designed to make reporting and audits simple, everything tracked and monitored for complete transparency ready for review. Electronic data records are easier to maintain, easier to back up, and easier to fix if there are errors.

And the right electronic solution lets you reply to audit requests with “Would you like CSV, Excel, PDF, or a direct data transfer?” instead of “we can bring these boxes to you in the conference room.”

Catching cheats is no fun

We want to think the best of people, but sometimes our faith in humanity is challenged. Hand in hand with regulatory compliance is tracking and preventing fraud and abuse of the system. From billing for rides that didn’t happen to faking eligibility, fraud happens in NEMT like any other service.

And fraud costs everyone.

The money spent fraudulently could have been used for another person. Each fraudulent incident you have to deal with increases the possibility of regulatory scrutiny or an audit. Technology can’t prevent all fraud, that’s impossible, but switching to an app to collect fares, payments, and record rides takes away one avenue for abuse. When you deal with cash fares and paper dockets, it’s easier to sneak things through. Electronic monitoring, compliance checks, and automated eligibility checks make it harder for bogus rides to be entered into the system and paid. The more you reduce manual work, paper records that can be tampered with, and automate payments, the harder you make it for fraudsters. When you integrate everything into an interlocking set of applications, you have records from booking to pickup to payment to drop off. Everything is tracked and monitored, reducing the chance of fraud.

Efficiency is the first step to fighting rising costs

From gas to people to vehicles, everything is more expensive right now. Want to save on gas? Have routes and pickups dynamically adjusted when there are cancellations and last-minute bookings so you can daisy chain pickups more efficiently. Better routing and scheduling software makes it easier to be more efficient. Automated and intelligent routing lets you adapt to last-minute bookings and cancellations. You can re-route and dispatch drivers while they are already on the road so you can make sure your drivers are driving people more than driving empty.

Call centers are notorious for being either swamped with calls or no calls at all. With online booking and mobile apps to take some of the burden off customer service people, you let them spend more time helping people, or doing other tasks, than being stuck on the phone. And even when a person needs to call, technology lets your agents resolve issues with booking, rescheduling, and billing quickly.

To bring it all together, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) simplifies billing and reimbursement, automating the most tedious and error-prone parts of the process. EDI not only reduces errors, it helps with audits and compliance by ensuring customer records and payment histories automatically stay in sync.

Happy clients is always good business

It’s hard to keep everyone happy—clients and staff included—but letting technology take some of the burden off everyone can make a huge difference. Imagine if your clients can manage most things by themselves. Book a ride, adjust a schedule, get updates when someone will pick them up, all from an app or a website. Imagine if your employees could spend less time on reminders and more time helping people. What if you could make it easier for a last-minute booking or cancellation?

All these things remove friction from people’s lives. Clients don’t have to call to see if a ride is coming, they can see it right on an app with an estimated pickup time and when they will reach their destination. Clients don’t have to worry if they can get through to someone to cancel their trip, they can do it themselves from an app or a website. Drivers won’t be sitting waiting for people who have cancelled, but didn’t get a call from dispatch, they can see it on their own route and pickup screen. The more you can automate booking through a website or app. The more you can automate billing and payments. The more efficient you can make routes. The easier the entire process is. And that makes for happy customers and happy employees.

Learn how Momentm makes providing NEMT services better and easier

Momentm’s NovusMED software is designed for a wide range of medical transportation services including Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, Managed Care, Health Plans, PACE, and SDOH situations.

Our solutions provide control over your operation: member eligibility, trip booking, scheduling, provider management, monitoring, billing, and operational analysis.

Request a demo today to see how we can help alleviate these challenges.

Steve Dewis

Steve Dewis is the General Manager for Momentm. He has spent the last 25 years directing technology companies, specializing in operations, strategy, change management and risk mitigation. Steve is a tribal leader who strives to build a high performing culture and deliver exceptional value for his customers. He is a registered professional engineer and avid swimmer and downhill skier.

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