Emergency Room Transportation

Can Uber or Lyft Transport You to an Emergency Room?

January 23, 2023 3:29 pm Published by

Sometimes the emergency services take longer than you expected. Requesting an Uber or Lyft will get you to the emergency room in time to save your life. As much as Uber and Lyft can take you to the ER, it is essential to note that their drivers don’t have any medical training, which is risky.

Uber and Lyft offer Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT), which is beneficial to persons seeking medical assistance like providing transportation to the nursing home, regular medical checkups, and services for the elderly and disabled.

Is Uber or Lyft Reliable for ER Transportation?

Just like any public transport, Uber and Lyft can reliably get you to the emergency room. However, they are not the most reliable forms of transport for medical-related cases. Booking a ride has several advantages:

  • Ride-booking services like Lyft and Uber are affordable compared to calling an ambulance
  • An Uber or Lyft is convenient and easy to get.
  • The ride is a call away with a shorter waiting time.
  • You can order a ride on demand even if your appointment runs late.
  • High patient satisfaction.

According to online chat rooms, some drivers are comfortable taking patients to the emergency room. However, most of them express concern as they aren’t qualified to handle an emergency. Most drivers don’t want the liability of having blood all over their car or, even worse, having to deal with a dead body.

Drivers mention that they have picked up customers with breathing problems, women in labor, persons with dislocation, burns, or generally in pain, and dropped in hospitals.

Uber says it’s glad to offer assistance to persons in need. However, they encourage people to call 911 as none of their drivers is a qualified medical professional. Lyft, on the other hand, is a suitable option for those seeking non-emergency transportation.

It is essential to assess your condition first before booking that ride. If your situation is critical or unstable and will most likely deteriorate in the next couple of hours, then call for an ambulance. However, if your condition isn’t worsening, you can ride to the hospital.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an ambulance ride to the ER will cost a patient $600-$1000. In addition, an ambulance takes you to the closest hospital, not the hospital of your choice.

Rideshares and services like Around the Sound don’t aim to outdo ambulance services, but they offer an alternative and affordable solution. It doesn’t matter to the doctors how you get to the emergency room as long as you get there.

What is Non-emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)

Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) is available to persons facing some barriers to accessing medical care. NEMT is often utilized by individuals under Medicaid who frequent the hospitals for their medical appointments.

The main difference between NEMT and Emergency service transportation is that the former is intended for scheduled medical services, while the latter is for unplanned and unexpected medical emergencies.

Lyft and Uber in NEMT Services

Lyft and Uber have been moving to join the NEMT business as it is a suitable way to assist low-income patients and Medicaid recipients to get to their medical appointments. It’s estimated that millions of people in the United States miss doctor’s appointments due to transportation barriers. It costs the country billions of dollars through the health system.

However, clinicians express their concern as the Lyft and Uber drivers aren’t qualified or trained to safely transport different kinds of patients accessing NEMT.

Lyft launched its first NEMT program in 2016 in an attempt to close the healthcare gap. Uber followed shortly with its program in 2018. Both companies have expanded their partnership with the healthcare sector. The companies now have an electronic health record platform where doctors can schedule appointments directly through a patient’s medical record.

In addition, both companies have specialized programs called Lyft Assisted and Uber Assist. In these programs, the drivers are trained to assist the walking-riders door to door.

Uber made a public statement claiming to have over 3000 healthcare customers, and the growth rate was at 70% between late 2020 to late 2021. The growth rate is expected to rise annually.

The downside with NEMT is their services are only limited to medical facilities. You cannot use NEMT to run errands or get to work. That’s where Lyft and Uber fill the gap, as there is no limit to where their drivers can take you. Uber’s limit on a single trip is eight hours. The app allows you to request a trip by the hour with a 2-hour minimum drive.

Who Qualifies for Non-emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)?

Qualifications for NEMT vary from state to state; however, those who qualify for Medicaid are eligible for NEMT. NEMT is utilized by individuals who have trouble getting to and from their medical appointments. Those who qualify for NEMT include:

  • Persons living with disabilities
  • The elderly
  • Pregnant women
  • Persons from low-income families

Review your state’s guidelines and evaluate whether you qualify for non-emergency medical transportation.

Types of Non-emergency Medical Transportation Services

The type of ride offered is dependent on your location and needs. Transportation services offer medical van transportation, car, shuttles, or taxis, depending on what works for you. In addition, you can opt to share rides with others on the NEMT services.

When in need of transportation, contact your local NEMT services near you or your healthcare provider to see if they offer medical transportation services.

Catch Your Ride Today

If you require a medical transportation service, reach out to the best company. At Around the Sound, we offer shuttle services to weddings, airports, and other events, stretcher or gurney transportation, and wheelchair services door to door.

We are professionals in long-distance transportation of persons with special needs, memory issues, and those whose mobility is limited to a wheelchair, scooter, and gurney. Our services are reliable, and our vehicles are well-designed to suit all your unique needs. Contact us at (253) 858-7088 and schedule your ride with us today!

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This post was written by Steve Hutchins

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