NEMT Training: What You and Your Staff Need to Know and Why
Why Do You and Your Staff Need Training?
Training sessions are necessary for keeping open communication between all departments of your NEMT business. Many mistakes could have otherwise been prevented if communication between the different departments in your NEMT was consistent. No-shows and other errors in billing, dispatching, and scheduling are all costing you time, money, and resources. You’ll be more knowledgeable about the guidelines and costs associated with operating an NEMT business. Many people are overwhelmed by the requirements, paperwork, and startup costs in getting their business running. Being proactive and knowing all the necessary steps to getting started in the NEMT industry is critical to your future success. Below are more reasons to implement training:
To ensure the highest level of safety, protection, and care for your passengers. The safety of your passengers, employees and drivers should be your top priority.
Compliance with standards, laws, and regulations in your state(s)/county(ies) of operation. Laws and compliance regulations vary from state to state. You and your staff need to be as educated as possible about the rules and regulations pertaining to operating within your jurisdiction.
Better preparation during an emergency. (You could save a passenger’s life if you and your drivers are educated about medical procedures such as CPR) Seconds can count in critical medical situations and being prepared can mean the difference between life and death.
To protect yourself and your business against fraud, negligence, and personal injury lawsuits. Penalties associated with fraud can reach into the tens of thousands, and personal injury settlements can run into the millions. Do you know how to protect yourself, your assets, and your family from liability if legal action were taken against you?
Many brokers who will provide you clients have training prerequisites. About ¾ of your business will be assigned by brokers. You and your employees need to know their requirements so you don’t miss out on this important source of clientele.
If you drive for passengers with Medicaid, there are national and state-specific guidelines for all drivers. Staying up on Medicaid regulations will open up this portal of customers and increase your revenue.
NEMT dispatch and billing software can also alleviate the time and monetary costs associated with no-shows, pricing errors, and incorrect invoices. Training sessions on how these specialized software programs work will help your operation run more efficiently and profitably.
Safety, Protection, and Care For Your Passengers
The safety of your drivers and passengers should be your primary concern as an NEMT provider. Safety training for all of your drivers should include:
Proper operation of wheelchair lifts, ramps, seatbelts, wheelchair/stretcher straps, and other on-board equipment. This will minimize the risk of injuries to passengers (and potential lawsuits) due to improper fastening of safety straps or movement during transport.
Correct and safe movement of wheelchairs, gurneys, and stretchers to guarantee passengers are secure and comfortable at all times. The comfort and security of your passengers is key not only for their safety, but also to ensure their customer satisfaction. If they have a poor or uncomfortable experience with your company, they can and will seek NEMT services elsewhere.
Additional customer service refresher trainings to make the NEMT experience a positive one for both your passengers and drivers. With new NEMT companies entering your industry, keeping ahead of your competition is critical. By giving your drivers recurring pointers on how they can provide the best experience for your riders, you’ll keep your passengers happy and coming back to you for their NEMT needs.
Regular checking of lights, backup alarms, mirrors, seats, lifts, and all other hardware on your vehicles. Empowering your drivers and staff to conduct these regular safety checks can prevent accidents, injuries, tickets, or other issues from operating equipment or vehicles which are defective or need repairs.
Incorporating transport maintenance software and instructing your staff on effectively using its features to ensure all active vehicles are in good working order and offline vehicles are being repaired in a timely manner.
Instruction on prompt and immediate reporting of unsafe vehicle conditions (bad brakes, bouncing suspension, bald tires, exhaust smell in passenger cabin etc) for all drivers and letting them know the process for taking a vehicle offline. With safety being the biggest concern, it is imperative to make drivers and other staff aware that any vehicle having mechanical issues must be taken out of service immediately. This will protect your passengers, drivers, and business.
Compliance With Laws and Regulations in Your Service Area
The ADA and NEMT Training: Since 1990, The Americans with Disabilities Act has had the goal of protecting our physically or developmentally impaired citizens. Some of the national requirements pertaining to NEMT and vehicles set forth by the ADA include:
NEMT drivers must be trained in operating vehicles in a safe manner, assisting and accommodating passengers of all abilities with professional and personal courtesy, and have the awareness and capability to assist all riders with their specific needs.
Minimum height, weight, and clearance standards for lifts, wheelchair ramps, stretchers, safety straps, and other on-board equipment for vehicles.
No restrictions on the number of trips a passenger can take based on a disability.
Your state’s Department of Transportation may have further protections for your passengers that go beyond the scope of the ADA.
Better Preparation During Unforeseen Situations
Medical Emergencies: Training drivers and staff in basic medical procedures could save a life. Every second counts during a medical crisis such as a stroke, heart attack, or other emergency. You and your drivers can save someone’s life if you’re equipped with the knowledge to keep a patient stabilized until paramedics or other medical help arrives.
Accidents: Proper documentation, reporting, and protocol should be communicated with employees before an accident occurs. Mandating that drivers and staff follow procedure and log any incident will give you and your employees the best ability to handle a sudden situation and concrete proof of the event should legal action be taken against your company.
Breakdowns: Keeping drivers prepared with implemented procedures if their vehicle breaks down with a passenger on excessively hot or cold days.
Bad Weather: Educating drivers on alternate routes/emergency detours should inclement weather occur. (Floods, mudslides, tornadoes, ice storms)
Other Incidents: Communication protocol for situations such as unruly or inappropriate behavior of passengers, fights between riders, or other in-ride disputes.
You’ll Have More Knowledge About the Guidelines and Costs of Operating an NEMT
State DOT Guidelines
Local or County Rules
Vehicle Equipment Mandates: Ambulatory, wheelchair, and stretcher vehicles all have specific minimum height, weight, and clearance guidelines for transporting passengers with disabilities.
Insurance Costs and Requirements
Higher liability limits, coverages, and policy premiums are associated with transporting passengers for NEMT. Workers compensation policies protect your drivers and other employees should they be injured while driving or transporting passengers.
You’ll be Better Informed About Training Requirements of Brokers.(Roughly 75% of your business will be sourced by brokers)
Logisticare requires training within 90 days of initial contract and annually thereafter.
MTM mandates HIPAA and FWA (Fraud, Waste, and Abuse) among other trainings for all providers and drivers. These trainings will create awareness of these policies and empower your employees to speak up if they observe colleagues violating HIPAA or committing other forms of fraud or theft of services.
All training forms for all drivers must be kept current and updated with National Med Trans. This provides a footprint of the status of all training modules that have been completed and need to be finished by all employees.
Protect Yourself Against Fraud by Understanding Medicaid’s Compliance Guidelines
All drivers must be qualified and certified in their state of operation. Depending on the region, a driver may have to undergo a criminal background check, MVR, and/or physical exam before driving Medicaid riders.
Licensing guidelines are different from state to state. For instance, some jurisdictions require drivers to have a higher class of license for Medicaid trips if they’re using a wheelchair van or bus.
Vehicles must be in good operating condition to transport for Medicaid.
Educate yourself and your staff on the types of Medicaid fraud and the penalties associated with each. Drivers or office staff forging invoices or logging phantom trips under Medicaid could result in your business being fined or even shut down regardless of your knowledge of such fraud.
Protect Yourself Against Fraud or Other Abuse of Resources
Forged Medicaid documentation
Drivers using your vehicles for personal use on company time. (Picking up children from school, grocery shopping, liquor store, getting their hair done etc). There have been known instances of drivers running personal errands with passengers waiting in the vehicles for long periods of time.
Drivers arriving late or no-showing to pick up a passenger.
Drivers or office staff generating invoices for phantom trips.
Drivers sleeping in vehicles while on the clock.
Use Training to Facilitate Better Communication
Stress importance of constant communication between dispatchers, office staff, drivers, and passengers.
Open communication will minimize risk of losses from no-shows, last-minute changes or cancellations, and misinformation leading to drivers going to an incorrect address for a pickup, or billing and invoicing inaccuracies.
Training of Your Internal Systems for Dispatching, Scheduling, and Billing
Tutorials on your internal systems for new employees.
Regular refresher training sessions for all employees to keep them up-to-date on any changes or modifications in your dispatching, scheduling, and billing procedures.
Fraud recognition training to protect your business against fines, lawsuits, or shutdown.
ISI Technology and Training
At ISI Technology, we pride ourselves in helping NEMT providers like yourself become more efficient and profitable with our customized dispatch software for medical transportation. Your passengers, drivers, and vehicles are your most important assets. Our NEMT transport management software can help you protect your passengers and drivers on the road while remaining compliant with federal, state, and local training regulations to keep your vehicles operating in the safest and most optimal condition for every trip.