We have all experienced challenges in the year 2022. Over the past year, we have adapted to Covid-19 policies and restrictions as best as we could. The majority of us can agree that we're in a better position than a year ago: the Covid-19 vaccine is widely available, businesses have managed to allow people to assemble once again on a large scale, and offices are once again open.
However, running any business is more challenging now than ever before, and the non-emergency medical transportation business is no different. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the biggest challenges NEMT providers faced this year and how they responded to them. Also, read our blog on how to start NEMT business.
NEMT Software Reliance on obsolete technology
In almost every industry, the move from manual to digital processes is becoming the norm. A number of non-emergency medical transportation services providers have adopted new technologies but some are reluctant to embrace and invest in new technologies. While they may appear to save money upfront, they end up spending a lot more in the long run. If you don't have the right NEMT software, the costs of scheduling, routing, billing, and dispatching become massive overtime.
Besides being costly, it is also a time-consuming, inaccurate process, so after hours of work, the results may not even be accurate. To summarize, investing in NEMT scheduling software is an absolute necessity in today's business environment. People who cling to traditional methods of doing NEMT business are doomed to fail.
Employers face a shortage of drivers since last year. Nearly every industry is experiencing employee shortages for reasons that are not entirely clear. There is a shortage of employees in the transportation industry, too.
A survey conducted by the American Trucking Association estimates that the shortage of truck drivers will rise to over 80,000 drivers by 2022. The shortage also impacts non-emergency medical transportation drivers, even though NEMT and truck drivers aren't the same. Due to the lack of options, NEMT providers have been forced to work harder to secure reliable drivers.
On the other hand, the rise in telehealth appointments has reduced the need for NEMT services across the country. In the initial phase of Covid-19, some appointments were conducted via video calls rather than in person in order to reduce contact. Most appointments can be done via video call, but some, as we all know, need to be conducted in person. As a result, some NEMT providers are unable to get trips due to the availability of telehealth options for those who choose it.
A business that makes no effort to organize its processes is going to have problems. For example, NEMT companies face the risk of drivers mixing up their time slots when they do the driver scheduling process manually.
Researchers found that while participants were generally pleased with their experience using NEMT, there were some specific issues regarding driver scheduling that they encountered, such as drivers arriving too early, too late, or not at all. It’s evident that driver scheduling is a big issue, but it can easily be solved with proper non-emergency medical transportation software.
NEMT is not governed by any formal rules, but each state has its own rules and regulations regarding non-emergency medical transportation services that companies must follow. In addition, service providers are expected to notify state officials proactively of deficiencies. Some states, for instance, require staff members to possess certifications and licenses. After all, driving and taking patients to hospitals is a dangerous job.
It is essential that drivers be able to handle basic medical emergencies and care. Failure to do so might result in liability and penalties. It is, therefore, crucial to monitor your compliance adherence. In order to operate without issues, you need to keep a track record of all contract requirements and appropriate regulations. The good news is that NEMT software can help you manage your audits and records. Data collection, vehicle tracking, and driver evaluation can all be automated with transportation dispatch software to ensure compliance with state policies.
There was no way to predict delays, road closures, or traffic patterns before transportation management software was developed. Most routes were created or drawn on paper maps prior to the development of NEMT software. Furthermore, pick-up and drop-off locations were written by hand, meaning a driver could easily be misdirected if someone's 7 looked much like a 4.
Medicaid recipients rely on NEMT services to get to and from medical appointments. That one miswritten number may cause unforeseen delays, costing the customer valuable time and potentially causing them to miss crucial appointments-even lifesaving appointments.
Today's transportation dispatch software enables both drivers and riders to plan their trips efficiently and safely, as it provides real-time visibility into any obstacles that may delay or prevent movement from point A to B, and it also offers insight into new or closed roads, speed limit adjustments and last but not least provide other related crucial data.
Lack of visibility and transparency is the main cause of the inefficiencies in NEMT operations. The record-keeping and management processes of many NEMT providers still rely on paper-based systems. As a result, it is difficult for them to manage driver and vehicle information, billing, reimbursements, and customers.
With NEMT software, you get a comprehensive business overview because it combines various data sources. Fleet management, GPS tracking, and automated billing are some of its features. Your data is readily accessible and available to you when you have a single platform to manage your operations. This tool enables you to analyze your business' performance and identify areas for improvement.
With NEMT software, regular schedules and recurring services are easily handled. Unfortunately, some service providers fail to respond as quickly as their clients expect when it comes to time-sensitive transportation. This can lead to late pickups, a shortage of drivers, and overscheduling.
Make sure this does not happen by automating the fleet management and scheduling process. There are a number of software solutions that can help you do this. You should conduct thorough research and select the right NEMT software from among software designed specifically for the NEMT industry.
To ensure there is no overbooking, look for scheduling software that can automate your process. You should also be able to see the status of your fleet so you know when and where your drivers and vehicles are. There are some software solutions that enable you to assign and dispatch drivers automatically so they arrive at their destinations as soon as possible. If you are looking for dispatching and scheduling software that is smart enough to manage your dispatch needs, check out NEMT Cloud Dispatch’s software.
In the U.S., about $3 billion of Medicaid funding is allocated to cover transportation services, including NEMT and MTM transportation. In the past, fare collections have usually been done on paper or by cash exchanges by much of NEMT and paratransit service providers, which served as a potential barrier to customers and increased errors or mismanagement on the part of transit providers.
The fare collection technology that exists today can help reduce costs related to managing passes, tickets, vouchers, and cash, creating instant accountability and security.
As an example, ParaPass allows providers to keep track of fares, meaning riders can load money onto their ParaPasses at the office or over the phone quickly and easily. Passengers are charged instantly for fares when the driver scans their ticket.
The NEMT industry is a top target for fraudsters and other criminals since it falls under the healthcare sector. A false call, a cyber-attack, or abuse of the system can constitute such violations. It is sometimes the case that beneficiaries bribe your staff to sign off on nonexistent rides in exchange for kickbacks on falsely paid claims and non-emergency medical transport rates.
Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your operations by enhancing transparency and data collection. Cyberattacks and fraud can be combated by investing in the right tools. Tool for cyber security, for instance, can make monitoring your digital systems easier. You'll be notified if there are any suspicious accesses or incidents during your operations. You can also use NEMT software to track the performance and activity of your drivers while they are dispatched.
Every business owner encounters challenges, but what distinguishes the mediocre owner from the stellar one is their ability to find solutions to every issue. In order to run your NEMT operations efficiently, you need software that performs all the tasks for you. Please contact NEMT Cloud Dispatch if you'd like to find out which of our products is best for your business. Now clients don’t have to worry regarding brokerage issues because our NEMT software has been integrated with MTM software and ModivCare software.