Uber and Lyft have announced recently that they are offering a service for non-emergency health care to provide rides to medical appointments. Uber Health is similar to the existing Uber service but it works with health providers who can schedule and pay for rides for patients. Providers can pass the costs onto patients but many are assuming the costs. Transportation has been identified as a top priority as hospitals are trying to coordinate care for patients for their non-medical needs when they leave the hospital as well as for other non-emergency trips to providers. As health systems are trying to reduce emergency room and hospital utilization, they view payments for transportation for routine care as cost effective.
It is estimated that there are 3 million persons who don’t make medical appointments because of a lack of access to affordable transportation. Uber offers some specific information on its website about the service. Here is a link to frequently asked questions
Some health care systems in New York’s DSRIP Medicaid transformation program are using transportation platforms to coordinate rides. Lyft, which is an Uber competitor, is working with a company called Circulation, another online platform for non-emergency medical transportation. Here’s a link to the press release announcing their collaboration.