Medical tourism is a fast-growing industry that’s been increasing in market share for several years. According to the Medical Tourism Association, over 14 million people each year seek medical treatment and services abroad. And they expect that number to grow exponentially in the coming years.
One service that’s facilitating this is long distance NEMT. Read more to find out more about this type of transportation and how you can take advantage of it.
What Is Long Distance NEMT?
Long-distance non-emergency medical transportation services are a type of transportation for people with health conditions used for distances of over 200 miles.
For appointments or services less than 1,500 miles or under 24 hours away, traveling by car can be a comfortable way to reach your destination. Within these limits, you or a loved one can be provided with the care and equipment you need to make the trip. All this without needing to worry about the added stress of driving in a passenger vehicle or flying on a commercial flight.
Long-distance transport by ground is especially useful for patients who need a stretcher or have mobility issues. This includes those who need bariatric transport, curb-to-curb service, or door-through-door service.
But while some providers focus strictly on traveling by car, long-distance NEMT services also include traveling by air. This type can be useful for those who need to travel to a different region of a country or another country altogether. These planes are similarly designed to accommodate travelers with various conditions and needs.
What Are Some of the Benefits?
There are plenty of benefits to using NEMT services. For one, designers of NEMT vehicles make them for the sole purpose of medical transport. This allows them to be more comfortable than passenger cars.
They’re also generally equipped with either reclining wheelchairs or stretchers. These provide more comfort than upright wheelchairs or standard vehicle seating.
Many feature lock-downs or other features to anchor the stretcher or wheelchair. And a position facing the front of the vehicle to avoid any discomfort or sickness induced by a long car ride.
Also, they’re equipped with standard medical equipment and have space for other devices that are specific to your needs. This is much easier than attempting to fit your medical necessities within a standard passenger car.
In the same vein, NEMT airplanes are also outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and knowledgeable staff that are qualified to handle customers’ needs. If you’re able to fly on a commercial flight, having an air medical escort may be a way to travel long distances while still receiving the medical care you need on the way.
Other Reasons to Hire a NEMT Provider
These services are often used by people with medical conditions that hamper their ability to drive or fly via the standard methods. But they aren’t exclusive to such persons. A few other reasons that one may hire a NEMT provider are:
- An inability or fading ability to read road signs and see other vehicles
As they age, some drivers may have increasing difficulty reading and understanding road signs. These difficulties can be compounded by other medical issues. This can ultimately impact a person’s ability to receive medical care due to a lack of safe transportation.
Another is a problem with seeing other vehicles, which can lead to an increased risk of accidents. These would be reduced significantly if a person chose to use medical transport services instead.
- They’re having difficulties staying in one lane
A common problem with drivers, especially older drivers, is with remaining in one lane. Issues with moving the steering wheel and the perception of the lanes and lane changes become more prominent as drivers age. Sometimes these develop into other issues that may affect their driving.
Drivers for non-emergency medical transport services, however, are hired due to their driving abilities and experience. They’ll be able to transport your loved one or yourself to your destination without lane-related issues.
- An inability to travel on commercial flights
Many people who seek healthcare outside of their home state travel on a standard commercial flight. But for those with medical conditions that may disqualify them from this type of transport, getting to their destination can be much more difficult.
But that doesn’t have to be the case. There are flight options for medical transport as well that employ attendants called flight nurses. Flight nurses work in tandem with flight coordinators to prepare and support an individual on their journey, both on the flight itself and at the airport.
Costs & Other Considerations
The price for medical transport depends on the provider, the distance you’ll be traveling, and the type of care you may need. Generally, the cost of NEMT services ranges from $90-$250 per trip.
But the total expense is dependent on many factors. There will be various fees for traveling on weekends or over holidays, and how many attendants/drivers you’ll need with you. The cost also factors in how many hours the trip will last and if you’ll need return transportation.
Non-emergency medical transport flights are more expensive and start at around $6,000. Although this depends on whether one is flying within the country or not and how far.
Travel With the Care You Need
Planning a long-distance trip for medical care can be daunting. But knowing that you or a loved one has an option to travel with long-distance NEMT services can take the weight off your shoulders.
For safe and comfortable care from a family-owned NEMT service provider, look no further than Affinity Transport. Call today to find out how we can make traveling long distances to your appointments less of a chore.