We all know that getting medical care is a key component to being healthy, and that being able to get to medical appointments is a key component to receiving medical care. However, each year, almost 4 million individuals miss medical appointments due to transportation issues, such as lack of vehicle access, lack of reliable or accessible public transportation or transportation costs. Transportation is particularly a challenge for people with complex health and social needs. Lack of transportation can result in delayed or missed care, which can, in turn, make an individual’s health worsen and health care costs increase.
The Medicaid program recognizes this important link between transportation and health by requiring all state programs to cover non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT), or transportation to and from medical appointments. While Medicaid NEMT is a critical and cost-effective benefit, over the last several years we have seen increasing threats to the service from federal and state policymakers looking to cut Medicaid for ideological or budgetary reasons. In addition, NEMT is plagued by poor service nationwide—resulting in frustrating (and sometimes harmful) experiences for consumers and providers alike—further eroding support for the program.
On this webinar, Rachelle Brill and Andi Mullin from Community Catalyst provided an overview of Medicaid NEMT’s history, current threats and challenges facing the program, and ways providers and other healthcare stakeholders can get involved in advocacy efforts to protect and improve it. Speakers from two state advocates who have been on the front lines presented on working to improve NEMT services in their states.
- Andi Mullin, Project Manager, State Advocacy, Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation, Community Catalyst
- Rachelle Brill, Senior Policy Analyst, Community Catalyst
- Katie McGarvey, Director, Legal Aid Society of Columbus
- Crystal McDonald, Associate State Director of Advocacy, AARP New Jersey
This webinar is part of an ongoing series on policy issues in complex care. Past policy webinars include Beyond cost and utilization: Rethinking evaluation strategies for complex care programs and The 1115 Impact: The role of Medicaid Section 1115 Waivers in complex care.