By 2024, the global market for medical transportation is expected to reach $42 billion, which means that it is steadily growing by about 7% annually. In the US, the non-emergency medical transportation industry is becoming larger due to greater recognition of the service from the healthcare organizations. However, the difference between medical transportation and NEMT companies is exactly in the state and officials recognition; while the former has long been surfing the market, the latter is still floating on the backs of independent firms.
Some would say that it is great since the independent market that is open literally for anyone willing to join is a perfect space for opening your own business and starting to earn. On the other hand, whenever you enter this niche business, be ready to face contradictions in regulations (they do differ from state to state), lack of governmental control, and hence lack of general outline of the business requirements. Such a situation brings the idea that the market is full of competitors so getting to the top of the system is already a challenge. This is why below you will find basic information about setting up relationships with the medical part of the business and some legal advice regarding legitimization of your connections.
How to legitimize your NEMT business in the market?
Before you get on to contacting people in the market to increase your client flow, and consider NEMT software pricing for easier operations, ensure that you meet the industry standards and the industry representatives would agree to deal with you. Always remember that the higher service you provide from the very first day, the easier it would be to grow later on. So here is the list of standard requirements for NEMT providers:
Vehicle licensing with the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles
ADA-compliant vehicles (they must be easily accessible for wheelchairs and ambulance carts and they must have medical supplies for passengers, such as oxygen, gurneys, defibrillator, etc.)
Registration with your state’s Department of Public Safety that would confirm you can provide transport services
Certification from the Department of Human Services (provided that you offer non-emergency ambulance services)
Auto and liability insurances are a must to protect your drivers and employees from any medical bills that may occur due to the transporter’s health issues (note that this is not an official state requirement)
Official medical education is currently not required for NEMT operators, yet basic training in medical emergency medical care (such as vitals assessment, CPR, defibrillator usage, and other life-saving techniques) certified by any official would be highly respected by the NEMT brokers and your clients
Since NEMT regulations differ across the country, it is highly advised to contact your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles,
Whom to contact when starting a NEMT business?
NEMT businesses can operate small and work only with the local citizens hence connecting with them with basic NEMT scheduling software. However, it is much more beneficial to start big in terms of communication with service clients since you never know where more requests would come from. So here are your potential partners:
health insurance companies
medical institutions: hospitals, clinics, dialysis centers
non-medical institutions: daycare centers, retirement homes, group homes
brokers (as a contact with the state demand)
To set up contacts with the personas above, you will need to have a ready legal agreement as well as your business certifications so that your offer would look weighted and reasonable for them. Ensure that you get all the papers ready and then send emails offering your NEMT service. Besides that, do not hesitate physically knocking on the doors of (non-)medical institutions and brokers to ensure that your offer is heard and considered.
Warning: whenever you knock on doors, consider the actual physical scope of your business; do not take more contracts than you can (in terms of fleet, time, and hands-on-deck) since then even the most progressive NEMT dispatch and billing software would be able to handle your workflow. Hence you might end up breaking those agreements which is never a great business move.
What type of legal agreement to choose: contracts vs service agreements for NEMT
The difference between contracts and service agreements for NEMT providers is in the level of legal consequences they pose upon the signing sides.
A contract is a legally binding paper; this means that in case one of the sides breaches the contract for any reason, it is subject to any legal ramifications; and you might even end up in court for the breach. Such contracts would generally be required by large medical institutions or health insurance companies.
A service agreement is also a legal paper but with the possibility to break it off easier, with fewer consequences for both sides. For example, if you agreed to take 5 patients a day and you count on it but at some point, your partner stops bringing you those 5 patients, then you would sit down and talk about the reasons rather than instantly going to court. Service agreements give more flexibility to both sides and are rather a legal statement of a mutually-profitable partnership than a mutually-frightening legal paper. This is a more beneficial form of cooperation for non-medical institutions and brokers.
In terms of cooperation with private clients, you generally don’t need any papers. All you need is top-notch NEMT manager software to communicate efficiently with the private parties and efficiently handle payments and scheduling via your CRM software for transportation companies.
The bottom line
The answer to the article’s title is simple: get up and start communicating with your prospective partners. Give calls, write letters, and visit their locations to offer your NEMT services. Always remember to bring the proof of your professionalism in terms of certifications and licenses and don’t rush into the contracts. Give both sides space for maneuvers and back plans. And keep in mind that today the industry is flourishing with NEMT transportation software so if you select the right tool available in your area, you will get on-board much easier since you will already have one thing in common with your potential clients.
Disclaimer: None of the tips written above are or intend to constitute legal advice; instead all information in this article serves general informational purposes only.