For patients without smartphones, staffers at participating physicians’ offices can schedule their rides for immediate pickup or dropoff up to 30 days in advance.
Rather than operating through an app, Uber Health will send passengers their ride information via text message. Drivers, however, will still locate and pick up riders through the Uber app, allowing them to abide by the patient privacy laws outlined in HIPAA.
Roughly 100 healthcare facilities nationwide participated in Uber Health’s test program. The company said it plans to roll out the feature to participating facilities gradually. Officials also said they hope to introduce an option for passengers to receive a call with their trip details to their landline.
Chris Weber, the general manager of Uber Health is quoted by NPR:
Transportation barriers are the greatest for vulnerable populations. This service will provide reliable, comfortable transportation for patients.
Read the story at National Public Radio
Lyft announced Monday that it is expanding its partnerships with healthcare providers to provide the ride-hailing service to doctors and hospitals who want to arrange transportations for patients who can’t get to appointments.
Lyft is teaming with Allscripts, one of the nation’s leading electronic health records companies, to integrate its platform into the daily routines of 2,500 hospitals, 45,000 physician practices and 180,000 physicians, reaching an estimated 7 million patients.
A desktop application allows medical facilities to call multiple cars at once, and sends patients ride details via text messages. Healthcare providers cover the cost of the ride unless otherwise specified.
Although Lyft remains in the backseat when compared to its larger rival Uber, the company has spent the past two years working with hundreds of healthcare organizations through its business-focused LyftConcierge platform. Read more in USAToday
Healthcare providers who want to use Uber Health, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies for their patients should first understand the potential risks and liabilities that could come with it.
HealthLeaders Media reports Erica Mallon, a healthcare transactional and regulatory attorney with Tampa-based Carlton Fields, says ride-hailing services create exposure for providers that may not be immediately apparent.
In particular, she said, providers must be aware of anti-kickback laws and civil monetary penalties from fraud and abuse that could arise if providers offer Medicare, Medicaid or Tricare beneficiaries free or discounted transportation. Mallon says:
That is one area that providers need to be very, very careful with. That is a law that is targeted at providers and it has significant repercussions if they do not take the appropriate safeguards to ensure that they are not providing free and discounted transportation to induce beneficiaries to pursue medical services at their facilities.
Read about other pitfalls in HealthLeaders Media