We told you recently about a new program in which ambulances may be used to transport Medicare patients not only to the hospital, but to urgent care centers in response to 911 calls that wind up to be nonemergent. This begs the question: Could rideshare services be employed to carry out the same vital function? Such has been raised in the Texas legislature, as detailed in an article just published in the Houston Chronicle. The proposed legislation, HB1576, would allow Medicaid managed care companies to order rides for patients without advanced notice, such as for those with a sudden illness of the type that often presents to urgent care. It was just about a year ago that Uber and Lyft broke into the healthcare market by offering such services for hospital-bound patients. If the Texas bill takes effect, it would dramatically increase the business opportunity, as there are approximately 4.3 million Texans who are covered by Medicaid. As it is, the state already pays several transportation firms around $160 million annually to arrange “free” rides for Medicaid patients to visit a healthcare provider. Under that model, however, trips have to be scheduled at least two days in advance, taking it out of the realm of same-day visits.
If Ambulances Can Bring Patients to Urgent Care, Why Not Ride-Share Services?