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The ride-hailing company inked a deal with health system CommonSpirit Health and logistics firm Circulation to provide patients with access to rides when they’re discharged from a CommonSpirit care site, according to Forbes. Social workers, case managers, and medical staff from CommonSpirit are able to request and monitor the progress of the rides to ensure patients arrive safely at their destinations.
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The tie-up expands the ride-hailing company’s medical transport footprint — and is the latest move in a string of plays between Lyft and Uber to offer nonemergency medical transportation (NEMT) services.
CommonSpirit has more than 700 care sites in 21 states — meaning its sites are accessible to almost 1 in 4 US residents — which gives Lyft a long runway to expand its presence in the medical transport space.
And the tie-up is the latest move among Lyft and Uber as they vie to tap into the $15 billion NEMT opportunity. Lyft’s partnership with CommonSpirit follows the announcement of its tie-up with Sutter Health earlier this month, and comes on the heels of Uber Health’s announcement that it plans to double in size this year — highlighting that the two are staying neck-and-neck in their race to expand their NEMT footprints.
And partnerships like this have the potential to improve transportation access as a social determinant of health (SDOH) — which could present an opportunity for providers operating under value-based care (VBC) models to see greater reimbursement.
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With SDOH driving 80% of health outcomes, we’ve seen healthcare incumbents increasingly focus on improving social factors such as access to transportation in an effort to keep member costs down. And under the VBC model — in which providers are reimbursed based on the quality and efficiency of care — health systems stand to see greater reimbursement by improving access to transportation: For example, CommonSpirit could receive bigger insurer payouts under VBC by ensuring patients make it to their appointments — and receive the care they need to spur boosted health outcomes.
And improving access to transportation could generate significant savings, considering transportation issues cost the US healthcare system around $150 billion annually.
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