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Can Non-Emergency Transportation Be Used in Emergency Situations?

February 16, 2021 12:03 am Published by

When in an emergency situation, you should call 9-1-1 and follow the operator’s advice. But not every situation is an emergency, which means an ambulance isn’t always necessary for transportation. Sometimes a friend or family member can provide immediate transportation, and if the situation doesn’t require immediate attention, it may be possible to schedule non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) in Tacoma, WA.

Most true emergency situations, however, will require immediate transport, or even immediate medical attention during transport. In these situations, an ambulance should be used rather than NEMT.

For other non-emergency situations, though, like scheduled appointments, dialysis, physical therapy, outpatient procedures and other medical needs, NEMT is a viable alternative. Family and friends can help out only so much. If frequent, recurring travel is required, NEMT can not only get patients where they need to be at the appropriate time, but can also help ease the burden placed on loved ones or caregivers who may otherwise be tasked with transportation duties.

What is NEMT?

NEMT stands for non-emergency medical transportation. This is transportation service for medical needs that are not immediate emergencies. It is used in situations where an ambulance is not necessary, but a taxi or rideshare service may not be quite enough, such as a doctor’s appointment or transportation to a hospital for a scheduled procedure.

While a taxi is likely unable to accommodate a wheelchair or walker, NEMT will be ready to handle these needs, as the details will be communicated in advance and the appropriate transportation vehicle will be scheduled. Operators will also be ready to assist with entering and exiting the vehicle as needed.

NEMT in Tacoma, WA is often booked through specialized transportation brokers. They are able to book transportation according to a passenger’s schedule and accommodate any special needs the passenger may have. These services can also work with insurance companies and Medicaid when applicable to work out payment details.

Emergency vs. non-emergency transportation

What are the main differences between emergency vs. non-emergency transportation in Tacoma, WA? To answer that, it can help to take a step back and consider what constitutes an emergency vs. a non-emergency medical situation. Then you can determine whether a situation requires emergency or non-emergency transportation.

Emergency transportation is usually staffed by emergency medical technicians who are able to provide some limited medical assistance in emergency situations. In addition to the experience of the operator, the vehicle will likely be fitted with medical equipment to assist in treating medical trauma. Examples when this type of transportation would be appropriate include immediate, sudden and dangerous medical situations, like a heart attack or great bodily injury.

Non-emergency transportation is transportation for which the patient does not require immediate medical attention. This is scheduled transportation for medical appointments, procedures or doctor visits. For these situations, a driver does not need to be a trained EMT, and the vehicle will likely not be equipped with life-saving medical equipment.

Ready to schedule a ride to your next medical appointment? Contact the team at Around The Sound today for all your NEMT and everyday transportation needs.

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