Significance of non emergency medical transportation services for chronically ill patients

Monday, 09 January, 2017

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Chronically ill patients can be a major source of concern for family members. Apart from worrying about their recurring medical expenses, family members need to think of another important aspect too, i.e. transportation. This is because such patients need frequent access to life-saving health services to remain in fit conditions. While some might need therapies on daily basis, there are many who have to visit the physician for weekly consultation. Providing a separate car for such patients may not be possible especially for families belonging to low-income groups. In such a scenario, non-emergency medical transportation can be of great help. Before talking about such transportation services, let's take a look at the overall chronic illness scenario.

Key chronic diseases include Arthritis, Diabetes, Heart disease, Stroke, kidney disease, Cancer and Obesity. Over 133 million Americans, on an average, 1 in 2 adults, suffer from at least one chronic ailment. Around one-fourth of chronically ill persons experience limitations in their daily activities which include commuting too. There has been a staggering rise in the percentage of U.S. adults and children affected by chronic illnesses. While it was only 1.8% in the 1960s, the number has risen to 7% in 2004. According to the National Health Interview Survey done from 1999 to 2009, around 7% covered under Medicaid has reported transportation as a major barrier to accessing primary healthcare treatment on a daily basis. Then almost 0.6% patients covered under private insurances blamed it on transport problems for missing their doctor or therapist appointments.

It's hard to explain the significance in a single word. The patient might need to visit the dialysis centre on a daily basis. Those who have opted for behavioral health services have to visit the rehab regularly. If detected with severe heart conditions then at least weekly once consultation with the physician is very necessary. Those suffering from Arthritis or any other chronic painful condition might have to visit their therapists every day. Cancer or other terminal conditions demand regular doctor's surveillance. Apart from this many chronic diseases can result in temporary or even worst, permanent immobility. This means that the patients have to depend on a reliable transportation service if he/she doesn't own personal vehicle.

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