Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)

NEMT AT THE CROSSROADS

Without access to reliable transportation, Medicaid beneficiaries with complex health and social needs regularly miss outpatient medical appointments. The results are predictable: worsening health, emergency room visits and expensive inpatient hospitalizations. The Medicaid-funded Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) benefit, which has been part of Medicaid since the program was founded in 1965, seeks to address this issue by providing transportation for Medicaid beneficiaries to and from medically necessary appointments and services. This service is highly cost effective. A recent study found that NEMT more than pays for itself for people with chronic conditions, “. . .resulting in a total positive return on investment of over $40 million per month per 30,000 Medicaid beneficiaries.”  

Click Here for More Background about NEMT

Despite the value and efficacy of the service, NEMT is under threat. Most immediately, across the country the service is often so abysmally delivered that consumers experience real threats to their health as a result. In addition, for largely fiscal and/or ideological reasons, access to the service being attacked by policymakers who wish to restrict the service or even eliminate it entirely. These two problems reinforce one and other, as it is challenging to motivate consumers and providers to defend a service with which they are so frustrated.

This is where consumer advocacy becomes critical. Advocates across the country are working with the Center and each other to improve and protect the NEMT service. Here’s what the Center is doing to make sure that people with complex health and social needs are able to get the transportation services they need to stay healthy.

Advocacy Learning Community

We coordinate a network of state-based health advocates from across the country who are working to improve medical transportation in their states. These organizations include statewide health advocacy groups, legal services organizations, grassroots organizing projects and disability organizations. This network allows for rapid information sharing and peer learning about best practices and advocacy and oversight strategies. We are presently working most closely with advocates in the states highlighted in red below.

Technical Assistance

The Center provides one-on-one technical assistance to state-based consumer advocates across the country upon request. Our assistance includes sharing policy and advocacy strategies along with research and media resources.

Policy Resources and Recommendations

We provide education about the importance of transportation to health through both publications and webinars. Please see our brief on non-emergency medical transportation, which we authored in collaboration with our partners at Justice in Aging.

For more information, please contact Rachelle Brill at rbrill@communitycatalyst.org or Andi Mullin at amullin@communitycatalyst.org.