Americans are getting older, sicker, and driving less. 25% of senior citizens no longer drive, and 50% of seniors have difficulty finding transportation on any given day. This lack of transportation is negatively impacting the attendance rate of primary health care and specialty appointments, and attributing to America’s 50% no show rate across all medical appointments. Kerico Health Care, a Houston based Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) startup, has set out to fix this.
Founded by entrepreneur Michael Morris after his own experience of transporting his mother to her cancer treatments in 2018, he set out to create a company that solved two issues negatively impacting patients and providers alike. The first is to provide safe & reliable transportation for patients who can’t get to their appointments. The second is to reduce the no-show rate of missed appointments that negatively impact the bottom line of health care providers.
“Every $1 spent on NEMT for primary care appointments equates to $11 saved on emergency medical treatments. If people can get to their primary care for preventative medicine, they live longer, the health care provider does better, and everybody wins.” Says Morris. He adds “Medical transportation will never capture the headlines like telehealth or a new pharma miracle drug. It’s not sexy. But it’s necessary. It’s valuable. It saves the lives of patients and the livelihoods of healthcare providers.”
With so many transportation services available at our fingertips, including rideshare companies like Uber & Lyft, Kerico has found a niche that it attributes to its 300% year over year growth with esteemed health care organizations like United Health Group and Houston Methodist.
“First, we contract with health care providers as they are ultimately our customers. They tell us who the patient is, where they are, and when they need to be.” Says Chris Ochs, Kerico’s Chief Development Officer. “Secondly, we zero in on the driver-patient relationship. This is where Kerico wins every single time. We know that patients will often spend more time with their NEMT driver than they will their doctor. We hire drivers who are patient and understanding, and train them to be empathetic to those patients’ sensitivities & ailments.”
Kerico offers sedan and wheelchair vans to ambulatory and disabled patients respectively. They offer door-through-door service which allows them to help the patient from the home to the vehicle, and all the way into the care facility reception area. This differentiates their operations from a curb-to-curb rideshare or taxi service. And lastly, the company relies heavily on the latest tracking technology for real time information on the whereabouts of driver, patients, and ride status.
“We aim to be the gold standard of NEMT,” says Morris. “We are the ride connecting doctors and patients, and we do it with a balance of human empathy and state of the art technology.”
Interesting Related Article: “A Look into Home Care Health Services“