Transportation Program Reduces Barriers to Healthcare Access

December 12, 2019

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Ride Health collaborate to provide transportation for Medicare Advantage members in two states.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Ride Health will collaborate to offer non-emergency medical transportation at no cost for Medicare Advantage members in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

An estimated 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical care each year because of transportation issues, according to an analysis by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Especially vulnerable are the elderly, who may no longer be able to drive independently but have few family members or friends available to help. 

"We believe this innovative transportation program will help to improve health outcomes for our Medicare Advantage members by reducing transportation barriers that impact their ability to access quality healthcare," says Bill Graham, senior vice president, Medicare Business for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. "Our collaboration with Ride Health leverages the flexibility provided by Medicare to make new benefits like this a reality for these members."

Related: Opinion: Transportation as Medicine––How Mobility Can Drive Better Health Outcomes

The program, among the first of its kind, will enable Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Medicare Advantage members who face transportation barriers to easily arrange rides to and from doctor's offices, clinics, and other health-related locations beginning January 1, 2020. Members can access 12 to 24 rides each year, depending on their location, at no cost thanks to a recent expansion of Medicare's coverage for non-emergency medical transportation.

Rides will be managed by Ride Health's end-to-end transportation solution, which supports health systems and health plans in 30 states through a network of local transportation providers. Harvard Pilgrim members will receive a variety of benefits under the program, including:

• Telephone access to Ride Health's support team to confirm benefit eligibility and schedule rides;
• A member portal available on desktop or mobile to schedule rides, check ride status, review and edit upcoming rides, and view remaining rides; and
• Real-time ride monitoring by Ride Health's support team, with the ability to intervene in response to potential ride disruptions.

"We are excited to collaborate with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care to improve their members' access to care by providing safe, reliable, and affordable transportation," says Ride Health CEO and Founder Imran Cronk. "Ride Health provides an end-to-end solution with real-time insight into ride quality analytics that ensure we use the highest-performing, lowest-cost transportation providers, and a seamless experience for patients, healthcare professionals, and insurers. We are the only transportation coordination solution to provide real-time visibility into rides, which helps ensure that Harvard Pilgrim members receive the highest quality experience possible."