What Does NEMT Dispatcher Do?
The NEMT industry has become very important for people with special mobility needs. They are the most likely to miss their medical appointments because of the lack of appropriate transportation.
Hopefully, with more and more NEMT providers, fewer people will miss their regular checkups or treatments.
NEMT dispatchers are essential in providing much-needed specialized transport and improving the healthcare system overall.
Let’s discuss who the is dispatcher and what they do for the NEMT industry.
The Role of NEMT
First, what does NEMT stand for? It is an acronym for non-emergency medical transportation, which is a type of specialized vehicle that caters to people with special mobility needs. The service is for those needing medical attention or treatments in healthcare facilities, but not in an emergency.
Senior citizens and persons with disabilities, for example, need better vehicles than what public transportation offers. Many senior citizens are still mobile, but they should be riding in cars with comfortable and ergonomic seats.
Those with chronic conditions may use walkers or wheelchairs, and some may even need stretchers. These types of equipment are hard to accommodate in regular vehicles. NEMT is made precisely for this purpose.
The abundance of such vehicles is great for the overall improvement of the healthcare industry.
Now, what do dispatchers have to do with the business?
What Does NEMT Dispatcher Do?
Dispatchers are personnel who accept NEMT bookings by phone or other means. They then relay the request to find the available vehicle to accommodate this trip. It is the dispatcher’s responsibility to manage the schedules of the requested trips and coordinate closely with drivers.
The dispatcher plays a crucial role in ensuring that senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and other patients who need NEMT are assigned to drivers who will get them to their appointments on time.
NEMT dispatchers are responsible for the following:
Senior citizens, or those who are over 65 years old, currently make up 17.3% of the U.S. population. Persons with disabilities are now 13% of the population. This means millions of people in the country are in the vulnerable sector.
Dispatchers are responsible for receiving requests from patients who need NEMT services to get to local healthcare facilities. Processing these requests entails recording the patient’s information and specific needs so they can relay critical data to the NEMT provider.
The dispatcher will then schedule the patient’s trip. This is a critical point in the process, as the dispatcher must ensure that the driver and vehicle meet the patient’s specific needs.
The dispatcher must match the patient with the right vehicle, whether they need one that can accommodate a wheelchair, stretcher, oxygen tank, or other special equipment. The drivers must also have the training to ensure the comfort and safety of the patients assigned to them.
Now that the dispatcher has successfully matched the patient with the appropriate vehicle and driver, they must communicate the trip details to all parties concerned. Critical information includes the time and location of patient pickup. The dispatcher must also relay to the driver if the patient needs assistance getting out of their house and into the vehicle.
The dispatcher should maintain open communication lines with all parties in case there are changes in the trip request, such as the schedule or location.
These trip details must be recorded accurately in case of questions or concerns. The recording must also include billing information.
Monitoring and Tracking
Trips must be monitored from beginning to end so that the dispatcher will know if the patient has reached their destination, and if not, what happened during the trip. Monitoring is also necessary when NEMT vehicles break down and a replacement must be sent.
Another element to monitor is the NEMT provider’s standard of service. There are legal and quality standards imposed on these businesses that must be met.
How Technology Streamlines the Dispatch Process
The role of a dispatcher sounds simple enough, but the actual implementation can be challenging. So many different scenarios can crop up between the original patient request and the completed trip.
Scheduling trips can be tricky—who is to say the right vehicle is available with the right driver? The good news is there is NEMT dispatch software that can simplify the process.
Here is how NEMT dispatch software works:
Booking Through System
All NEMT requests are booked directly within the system, and it automatically matches and schedules the patient with the driver and the appropriate vehicle based on their needs.
With the trip now scheduled, the system will also determine the best route for the trip. It should recommend the shortest route with zero to minimal delays so the patient can reach their destination at the earliest possible time. System creates routes that can utilize multiload – when there are several passengers riding the same vehicle while all of them still catch their appointments on time and all requirements are met (time in the vehicle, pick up and drop off time frames, etc).
The feature prevents no-shows or a trip that doesn’t happen for whatever reason. No-shows are a waste of money and resources. With intelligent dispatching, patients are reminded about their upcoming trips so they can confirm they will be there upon pickup. Failure to confirm can result in cancellation.
NEMT is covered by insurance, while some patients prefer to pay for the trip in cash, credit or debit, or other means. NEMT dispatch software simplifies the payment process. Anybody with access to the software can see the bill for quick processing.
NEMT Dispatch Software is a Gamechanger
With NEMT dispatch software, the dispatching process is faster. Trip requests are processed immediately, and patients can easily confirm their trip schedule.
Communication is done in real-time, which benefits all parties concerned. Patients will know the drivers’ estimated arrival time so they can prepare accordingly. Drivers also get updates on traffic patterns and conditions along the way.
Not all NEMT software is created equal. ISI Technology has a fantastic solution that integrates NEMT dispatching with other aspects of NEMT business. It has everything you need to run a successful business.