The Medical Transportation Access Coalition (MTAC), in collaboration with a senior actuary from Wakely Consulting Group and Krisda H. Chaiyachati, MD, MPH, MSHP at the University of Pennsylvania, is pleased to announce the release of first-of-its-kind research on non-emergency transportation in healthcare. The new research paper, “Considering the Ideal Role for Non-Emergency Transportation in Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Medicaid and Medicare Populations” assesses (1) the value of non-emergency transportation for vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries, and (2) the variety of non-medical sites that Medicaid and Medicare health plans and providers serve with non-emergency transportation.
Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) has been a part of the Medicaid program since its establishment a half-century ago; numerous studies demonstrate the value of NEMT to Medicaid beneficiaries and state Medicaid programs. However, much less is known about the value of NEMT in other healthcare markets, such as Medicare, or the diversity of non-medical sites serviced by Medicare and Medicaid health plans and providers (in the interest of addressing social determinants of health). By undertaking two distinct but complementary analyses, we highlight the role that non-emergency transportation can play in addressing the SDOH needs of Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries.
“There’s a growing realization that addressing the social determinants of health is a perquisite for meeting the needs and improving the health outcomes of vulnerable people.” Robert Pittman of ModivCare notes. “MTAC’s analysis builds on previous work demonstrating the value of transportation.”
The study’s Medicare claims analysis documents non-emergency transportation correlating with helpful member behaviors and outcomes, such as increased primary care usage and generic drug utilization. In addition, the claims analysis suggests that non-emergency transportation is used by sicker members and rarely over-utilized.
“As the Baby Boomers age into Medicare, the senior population grows in size and expectations,” says Dena Adams-Mcneish of Southeastrans, Inc. “MTAC’s research provides new and compelling evidence that transportation is part of a successful strategy for serving the Medicare population.”
MTAC also surveyed 91 health plans and providers to learn how they use non-emergency transportation to improve member/patient access to non-medical sites (e.g., grocery stores, fitness centers, social services). The survey found that non-medical transportation is occurring in both Medicare Advantage and Medicaid. However, there is no single destination served by a large majority of responding organizations.
Philip Stalboerger of MTM observes, “MTAC’s research provides the broadest examination to date of the range of non-medical sites being serviced by non-emergency transportation supported by Medicare and Medicaid. The survey results are the essential starting point for identifying best practices.”
MTAC (www.mtaccoalition.org) was formed in 2017 to educate federal and state policymakers and other stakeholders about the benefits of medical transportation and the need for policies that support continued access to these services. The coalition’s founding and allied members include a diverse set of transportation management services companies and providers, managed care organizations and trade associations, and patient advocacy groups. Read the full report here.
Principal, Faegre Drinker Consulting
Advisor, Faegre Drinker Consulting