Starting a Non-Emergency Medical Transport Business
Non-emergency medical transportation. What is it? How do you get started? What special considerations are there?
What is a non-emergency medical transportation business?
Non-emergency medical transportation businesses transport individuals, generally the elderly and disabled, who are not in an emergency situation but need more assistance than a taxi service provides. These businesses are typically equipped to transport those in wheelchairs and in stretchers. They also transport ambulatory individuals- people who can walk but much more slowly, use a cane or a walker, or simply need some form of additional assistance in getting from Point A to Point B.
Is there a lot of competition in the non-emergency medical transportation field?
The non-emergency medial transportation field has become more and more competitive. Because there are always people that require transportation assistance, there will always be a need for these services.
How do I start a non-emergency medical transportation business?
Starting a non-emergency medical transportation business requires many of the same steps that a typical small business would- finding financing, registering, getting the appropriate licenses and permits, etc. In addition to these steps, there are additional considerations for licensees and permits, insurance, registrations, and payment options, which are described below.
What special licenses and permits are required for this type of business?
The nature of any transportation business means there will generally be a special requirement for a license or permit. In this case, your state designates the requirements for your business, and will require you to apply for and receive a form of transportation license. They may also require your business to become an approved provider with the state department of health and human services. In addition to this, many cities and local governments require you to obtain additional licenses or registrations.
What insurance precautions are necessary for this type of business?
Because you’ll be operating vehicles to transport customers, your business will require a large insurance policy. Although the policy is cheaper than the insurance that emergency medical transportation businesses require, it can still be quite expensive. Check with local and national insurance providers to see the best rates available for the size and specifics of your business.
For more information, check out this two part series on small business insurance:
How do non-emergency medical transportation businesses collect payments from clients?
Private insurance companies rarely cover non-emergency medical transportation costs. In most cases, these costs are covered by Medicare or paid privately by customers. If your business is going to accept Medicaid, you’ll need to become an approved provider with your stat’s Medicaid office. This office will help you become approved, get registered, learn how to submit claims, and help you with any other Medicaid related operations.
What type of equipment is required in this type of business?
Once you’ve dotted the I’s and crossed all the Ts on your licenses and registrations, you’ll need to obtain the vehicle(s) you’ll be using for your business. Some business will start small with just one vehicle while others may start with a fleet. Your vehicle(s) will need to be in compliance with all required safety regulations. In addition to these regulations, your vehicle(s) will most likely need to be customized to add accommodations such as a hydraulic lift. Be sure that you’ve considered all specifications that will be necessary to transport each of your clients. Next, make sure that all employees driving the vehicles have a clean driving record, appropriate medical and assistance training, and are equipped to handle the needs of your clientele. Most states have approved training opportunities for these individuals.
For more information on safety regulations, visit your Department of Transport.
How should you market or promote your business to get clients?
When you’re registered with your state as an approved non-emergency medical transportation provider, your contact information will be given to those who contact the state about this type of transportation. In addition to this, it’s wise to speak with local retirement and assisted living facilities in your area. By notifying them of your services, you’ll make sure they’re aware of your business and you’ll have a better chance of them offering your information to their residents.