November 25, 2012

NEMT Talk: New Forum for Non-Emergency Medical Transportation

I have long thought that people in the Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Industry need a platform where they can talk and exchange ideas, information, and experiences with each other. So, I was glad to see that a forum has just been started that addresses this need. It's called NEMT Talk. It's free, easy to use, and there is a number of different topics of discussion that would be of interest to any involved in NEMT. They range from general discussions to specific areas on dispatch software, licensing, gurneys, wheelchairs, financing, insurance, vehicles (ambulettes), Medicaid brokers, and a 'for sale'/'want to buy' section. NEMT is a highly de-centralized industry. So much of how it is administered, regulated, and provided happens at the local, county or state level. I think part of the interest in my own blog stems from a lack of any central forum. I hope that NEMT Talk can be just such a place. I've just signed-up, and I encourage anyone involved or interested in the NEMT industry to check out.

November 17, 2012

NEMT Business Idea #6: Diversifying into Home Health Care Services

CASE STUDY - Lina Services is an example of a company that has successfully combined both Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) and Home Health Care. It was established in 1993 as an agency offering both of these services in Hamden, Connecticut; a city of 60,000 people that is a suburb of New Haven. In 2003, they started an Adult Day Center Program and Meals-On-Wheels Service for seniors in New Haven and Fairfield Counties. In 2007 they started a similar Adult Day Center Program in neighboring Stamford. Today they employ over 200 people in their 2 locations. The principal reason for NEMT companies to diversify into Home Health Care and related services is because the customer base or market is largely the same. The clintele of Lina Services is made up mostly of Title XIX Recipients (Connecticut Medicaid), although it is branching out to attract more private-pay customer. Lina Services offers to these people and their families an affordable alternative to moving into an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home.

SERVICES - Lina Medical Transport currently operates a fleet of 18 sedan type vehicles providing rides in an area which includes Hamden, North Haven, East Haven, West Haven, Orange, Woodbridge, New Haven, Bethany, Branford, and Milford. They are an approved provider for Connecticut's Medicaid Transport Program, working directly with Logisicare Inc and Coordinated Transportation Solution. Lina Homecare provides a variety of non-medical services including homemaker, companion, personal care, live-in care, and support care services. They are an approved provider of the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE), administered by the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS). Lina Adult Day Care is for the elderly or disabled who are unable to participate in other supportive programs in the community. The program has nursing, recreation, nutrition, transportation, and social service components. Lena Meal-On-Wheels, under the direction of a Registered and Licensed Dietitian prepares and delivers meals 7 days/week to home-bound individuals who are unable to obtain or prepare meals for themselves. 

EFFICIENCIES IN DIVERSIFICATION - Lina Services has been able to grow and diversify over the past 2 decades by paying close attention to both the needs of their customer base and the Government support programs that offer financial reimbursement to companies or agencies that provide services to that population. Lina Services has been developed around a model of non-medical service. As such, there are efficiencies that can be realized that another company (for example: one that was modeled solely on transportation) would not. Agencies can that provide a variety of health and support services give their employees the opportunity to take on a variety of roles within the company. For a company such as Lina Services this could mean the same staff that prepare the dishes for Wheels-On-Meals can also prepare and serve meals at the Day Program, while utilizing the same kitchen facilities for both. Likewise, the same staff that work with the clients at the Adult Day Program or in the Home Care Service could also be available to act as companions to customers that use the transportation service. The demand for companion services, especially escorting clients to medical appointments (see: Home Health Care Transportation) is growing, but many NEMT companies find they are not able to capitalize on this because they lack the trained staff. In the same way, drivers and vehicles that provide the NEMT service could be used for both the delivery of Meals-On-Wheels, as well as providing transport to the Adult Day Program (see: NEMT Business Idea #3).

LEARNING MORE - For either the NEMT company looking to diversify into Home Care, or conversely: the Home Care Agency contempating branching into Non-Emegency Medical Transportation; the idea of expanding into a very different industry would bring some trepidation. But companies such as Lina Services show that the two in fact, compliment each other. For any company or entrepreneur wanting to explore this idea further: Joel Davis, the author of How to Build a Million Dollar Transportation Company has written a new book, How to Build a Million Dollar Home Care Agency. The following video introduces this unique new resource that has been specifically prepared to help NEMT and Home Care businesses take advantage of the market opportunities associated with the growing elderly population.