Boston, MA — Nonprofit hospital system Partners HealthCare has unveiled a joint venture with Circulation, an on-demand rideshare service, through which Medicare patients receive free rides to their doctor’s offices in non-emergencies. This reflects a growing trend, as healthcare providers look to facilitate patient visits—and recoup revenue lost from missed appointments. 

CareMore Health Systems, headquartered in Southern California, recorded fabulous results from its partnership with rideshare giant Lyft: 30 percent shorter wait time for patients and 80 percent overall patient satisfaction. Pleased with these stats, CareMore has expanded its program into Arizona, Nevada, and Virginia. 

Indeed, the healthcare rideshare movement is growing fast, with different car services positioning themselves within the healthcare industry in whole news ways. Lyft made a pledge that might not sound like it’s coming from a rideshare app: to cut the number of missed doctor’s appointments in half by 2020. And Circulation CFO Cindy Nguyen said, "The goal for us is to not just be the transaction fee related to a ride—we want to move the needle on overall healthcare expenses in a significant way.”

These rideshare companies are able to file their medical transport expenses through Medicaid. Last year, such expenses from Lyft, Circulation, and others totaled $3 billion.

Why This Matters

The Medicaid transportation benefit is sometimes criticized as an unnecessary expense, and according to its 2019 budget proposal, the Trump administration wants to limit this benefit significantly. But according to STAT News, using rideshare services for transit to hospitals provides a positive return on investment. 

According to the National Center for Mobility Management, revenue lost from a patient’s missed appointments ranges from $150 to $274 per patient. With the national no-show rate being about 20 percent, missed appointments can lead to well over $2 million in lost revenue annually. 

About the Author:

Ben helps spark innovative healthcare thinking as Associate Director of Innovation. Previously on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair, he brings experience in engaging, rigorous storytelling to the healthcare world. Ben’s goals are to move brands to rethink their roles, own their evolving narratives, and maintain vital and vigorous consumer relationships.