While this New York Times story on non-urgent medical transportation is heavily focused on the needs of the aging sector, ANCOR is sharing it for its applicability to I/DD populations. ANCOR members might find the excerpts below of interest:
“It’s no longer enough to call a taxi or regular car service and hope that frail seniors can get in and out — or through the entrance of a doctor’s office on their own as the driver speeds off. For people requiring oxygen tanks and wheelchairs, it’s an even bigger challenge, and long waiting periods are often required to arrange for specially equipped vehicles. Those needing transportation and specialized drivers covered by their insurance often have to wade through another labyrinth of red tape.
Many older people require sensitive, skilled or specially certified drivers who know how to deal with someone who’s frail, uses a wheelchair or has mild cognitive problems. “It’s more than pick up and drop off,” Mr. Dychtwald said.
As many as 30 percent of all patients skip doctor appointments, citing transportation as a key reason, according to a report by SCI Solutions, a health care technology firm.
The no-shows cost the health care industry $150 billion in lost revenue annually, as unused time slots cost a doctor an average of $200, the report said.
Several technology start-ups, RoundTrip, Circulation Inc. and Kaizen Health have set up shop over the past two years to address this need. Each created an online portal that complies with federal regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and makes it easy to find, book and track customized rides for patients. Each company partners with health care facilities and transportation companies, which matches skilled drivers with patients’ needs. It even handles the insurance end.
Experts see strong growth opportunities for transport care over the next decade.
About 52.5 million people are over the age of 65 — roughly 16 percent of the total population, according to the Pew Research Center. The number is expected to climb to 73.1 million, or 21 percent of the population, by 2030, according to Pew.
About 21 percent of those over 65 don’t drive, many for health reasons, according to Jana Lynott, senior strategic policy adviser with the AARP Public Policy Institute.”
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