MM Curator summary
Uber just added millions of new customers in TX Medicaid.
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Uber said it aims to eliminate barriers to care for Medicaid enrollees as well as provide a more cost-efficient form of transportation.
A sign in the lobby of Uber’s Deep Ellum office on Jan. 27, 2020 in Dallas.(Juan Figueroa / Staff photographer)
Uber is now offering millions of Texans on Medicaid rides to and from non-emergency medical appointments.
Uber Health, the company’s health care division, launched the service officially this week thanks to a law the company helped pass in the 2019 legislative session. Uber worked with now-Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Dade Phelan to pass legislation allowing ride-sharing companies to utilize the Medicaid program.
Uber says that rides for Medicaid enrollees will be priced the same as the company’s UberX service, and the health systems providing care can schedule transportation on a dashboard. It can also streamline those providers’ payments by combining charges for Medicaid patients into a single monthly bill.
There are nearly 4.4 million people in the state enrolled in Medicaid who will be able to use Uber’s on-demand ride sharing platform for medical visits. The service touts a more cost-efficient way to get patients to appointments, and one that helps health systems overcome a thorny barrier to providing care.
Transportation issues are cited as the reason nearly 6 million Americans miss medical care appointments each year, according to a recent American Journal of Public Health
study cited by Uber.
“Texas is ahead of the curve and helping serve their communities, and especially the Medicaid community, in what they’ve done allowing Uber to be a piece of the transportation,” global head of Uber Health Caitlin Donovan said.
Donovan joined Uber from the home health industry about four months ago. She said the realization that case managers she worked with were spending more than half of their time sorting out logistics like transportation for patients drove her to join the ride-sharing company.
Health care providers can utilize Uber Health’s dashboard to manage and schedule rides.(Uber Health)
The company has been piloting the service since June 1 when it was finally approved by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Uber had hoped to launch the HIPAA-secure service sooner but COVID-19 created delays, Uber spokesman Chris Miller said.
“The truth is that spending our money on a ride with Uber Health can be a more cost-effective use of our Medicaid dollars and allows us to cut down on fraud, waste and abuse while creating more equitable patient outcomes,” Phelan said in a statement. “We’ve already begun to see health care organizations in the state report a serious decrease in their no-show rates.”
Uber has already worked with legislators to change laws in Arizona, Indiana and Florida allowing it to provide rides for Medicaid users.
In the last year, Uber has also partnered with NimbleRx to launch an on-demand prescription delivery service in Texas. Uber Health was launched in 2018 with the goal of providing transportation services to the health care industry.