Starting a non-emergency medical transportation company is a long but rewarding journey. If you’re one of the many people in the US considering this path, it’s important to understand how to start your business the right way—otherwise, you end up wasting valuable time and resources. 3.6 million Americans miss or delay their healthcare appointments every year due to lack of transportation. This means millions of people miss out on routine checkups, lab tests, rehab appointments, pharmacy pickups, and more, simply because they don’t have reliable transportation. The good news is, eligible Medicaid beneficiaries can receive rides through the NEMT benefit. The NEMT industry is a rapidly growing one, so if you’re thinking about tapping into the market, there’s never been a better time. Figuring out where to start is always the hardest part, so we took care of that for you with a complete guide detailing how to start a NEMT business.
Become familiar with local requirements
Once you’ve made the decision to start a NEMT business, it’s time to become informed on the rules and regulations in your area. Since a majority of your clients will likely be Medicaid beneficiaries, it’s important to fully understand the Medicaid requirements in both the state you’re operating in and your local area. Your reimbursement rate for Medicaid passengers will be specific to the state you’re working in, so this figure will give you a good idea of how much money you may make. Additionally, different states have different legal requirements for business licenses. Make sure you know which documents you need so there are no setbacks in the future.
Find the right insurance for your business
In order to legally hit the road, you need both your fleet and your drivers insured. The price you pay depends on a few different things, including driver experience and history, the types of vehicles in your fleet, the amount of trips completed per day, among other things. Insurance isn’t a place where you should try to save some money, however. Protecting your employees and your vehicles is extremely important, and if you don’t have reliable insurance, you could find yourself with a serious lawsuit if your drivers end up in an accident. Assess your insurance options and make sure you choose the one that makes the most sense for your business.
Save money from the start
If you’re preparing to start your own business, you should have your finances in order and have an organized spreadsheet detailing your startup cost. If you’re looking to save some money, there are a variety of ways you can do this right from the start. For instance, if you already have vehicles that work for the type of transport you’re planning to do, you don’t need to worry about investing in a brand-new vehicle right away. Rather than renting out a huge office, work out of your home, if possible, and see if your friends and family are willing to help with behind-the-scenes work so you can focus on building relationships and securing clients.
Establish your fleet
Whether you’re using your personal vehicles or investing in new ones, it’s important to have reliable vehicles in your fleet that are ADA compliant, safe, and customizable to your passengers’ needs. Your vehicles should be equipped with wheelchairs, stretchers, oxygen tanks, walkers, and anything else you may need to accommodate passengers.
Identify your passengers
If you’re planning on working with Medicaid passengers, you’ll need to form partnerships with brokers. Brokers are best seen as the liaison between passenger and provider. When a passenger needs a ride, they reach out to a broker, provide their information, and those details are then passed on to providers to conduct the trip. Working with brokers is one of the simplest and most effective ways to secure trips. Once you build good broker relationships, you should also consider how you might attract private pay clients. Since private pay clients pay out of pocket, you won’t find these passengers through brokers. Instead, you’ll have to count on smart marketing and word of mouth to do the legwork.
Find the best NEMT software
NEMT software is an important, worthwhile investment for your NEMT business, but you shouldn’t rush into it. Once you’ve been up and running for a while, have at least five vehicles, and have secured broker partnerships to ensure regular trip requests, it’s time to start looking at software options. Software helps providers automate their scheduling, routing, dispatching, billing, and more while tackling daily challenges like traffic problems, vehicle breakdowns, driver call offs, cancellations, no-shows, and more. Software saves providers time and money while increasing accuracy.
If you’re ready to start searching for NEMT software, make sure you know what you want out of a system before you begin your journey. Think about why you want software and how it will improve your daily operation, and make sure you’re looking at software that meets those needs. It’s impossible to know everything needed to start a NEMT business, but if you follow the above guidelines, you’ll be in good shape to start a thriving business in no time at all.