Economic Benefit of "Modern" Nonemergency Medical Transportation That Utilizes Digital Transportation Networks

Am J Public Health. 2019 Mar;109(3):472-474. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304857. Epub 2019 Jan 24.


Objectives: To determine the economic benefit of "modern" nonemergency medical transportation (NEMT) that utilizes digital transportation networks compared with traditional NEMT in the United States.

Methods: We used the National Academies' NEMT cost-effectiveness model to perform a baseline cost savings analysis for provision of NEMT for transportation-disadvantaged Medicaid beneficiaries. On the basis of a review of the literature, commercial information, and structured expert interviews, we performed a sensitivity analysis to determine the incremental economic benefit of using modern NEMT. We estimated confidence intervals (CIs) by using Monte Carlo simulation.

Results: Total annual net savings for traditional NEMT in Medicaid was approximately $4 billion. For modern NEMT, estimated savings on ride costs varied from 30% to 70%. In comparison with traditional, modern NEMT was estimated to save $268 per expected user (95% CI = $248, $288 per member per year) and $537 million annually (95% CI = $496 million, $577 million) when scaled nationally.

Conclusions: Modern NEMT has the potential to yield greater cost savings than traditional NEMT while also improving patient experience. Public Health Implications: Barriers to NEMT are a health risk affecting high-need, economically disadvantaged patients. Economic arguments supporting modern NEMT are important given decreased support for human services spending.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulances / economics*
  • Ambulances / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cost Savings / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicaid / economics*
  • Medicaid / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Transportation of Patients / economics*
  • Transportation of Patients / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States