Popular San Francisco-based ridesharing company Lyft has partnered with SPLT, a carpooling app service out of Detroit, to deliver non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services to seniors in Michigan—including those who do not have a smartphone.
Through the partnership, seniors can request transportation to and from appointments by submitting their name, pick-up and drop-off locations either by phone, text message or through a website, Crain’s Detroit Business reports. Then, they’ll be matched with Lyft drivers who will provide the rides to and from the appointments.
SPLT will handle actually scheduling the rides, as well as Medicare qualifications, insurance reimbursement and reporting to health care systems. The service is scheduled to launch sometime this fall.
Currently, 3.6 million Americans per year miss or postpone medical care due to problems accessing transportation, according to a SPLT press release. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that more than 25% of American seniors do not own smartphones with which to request ridesharing services.
Lyft and SPLT saw an opportunity in the NEMT space because the space’s existing players require that patients book transportation a minimum of four days before their appointments. Then, after the appointments, patients often have to wait several hours before their driver shows up, SPLT says.
“The inefficiencies in this industry are enormous and patients have no voice or alternative,” SPLT founder and CEO Anya Babbitt said in a press release. “Patient trust is what we plan to bring back to the NEMT experience.”
Lyft and SPLT also aim to slash pre-booking times from days to hours, as well as patient wait times from hours to minutes.
“Getting a patient to their doctor appointment can lower the cost and increase the quality of care,” Gyre Renwick, Lyft’s head of enterprise healthcare partnerships, said in the press release.
This year, SPLT aspires to roll out the service at health care systems throughout the Midwest; Babbitt hopes to launch nationwide after that, Crain’s reports.
Lyft and SPLT had not responded to Senior Housing News’ requests for comment as of press time.
This is not the first time ridesharing companies have targeted the senior population. Uber launched uberASSIST, a ridesharing solution for seniors, in October 2014; months later, in July 2015, Uber began offering free rides at select senior centers and retirement communities across the country.
Written by Mary Kate Nelson