Challenges in Dealing with No Shows in the NEMT Industry

Challenges in Dealing with No Shows in the NEMT Industry

The field of non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) is growing rapidly, and with it comes many challenges unique to the industry. Some of these challenges can be easily addressed, but one perpetual issue across all transport businesses is dealing with passenger no shows. 

No shows for NEMT companies lead to a ton of wasted time and money, especially with the rising cost of fuel. They can affect overall revenue and employee goodwill. But it also affects patients because delays can disrupt their medical care and treatments. 


Why Clients Don’t Show Up

In a recent study, 46% of scheduled appointments were canceled by patients for various reasons. These reasons ranged from personal issues to their perception of treatment from their healthcare provider. 

Here are some reasons why patients do not show up for their scheduled NEMT transport:

Misunderstanding the Transport Scheduling Guidelines

Some patients do not have a clear grasp of a transport company’s policies on scheduling trips. Often they do not know how to cancel or reschedule appointments, so if their plans change, they just don’t show up at the designated pick-up point. 

With no transport options, this results in more than 67% of no show patients

Perceived Treatment by Healthcare Providers

Some patients report that they willingly do not show up to their appointments because of how they are treated by healthcare workers. They feel disrespected in those facilities, so they prefer to just stay at home or do something else. 

Healthcare providers must make it a priority to provide top-notch patient care and treatments. Patient perceptions can make it more difficult to provide what they need.

Patient’s Mindset

Passengers schedule health appointments because they value their health. But when the date approaches, they may feel mounting anxiety about their test results or what the doctor will say. Instead of facing their fears, they just don’t show up to their health appointments and don’t tell anyone about the change in plans.

This mindset has a ripple effect on the bottom lines and timeliness of services provided by healthcare professionals and NEMT companies. 

Family or Personal Emergencies

Emergencies may prevent patients from going to their appointments. Often, these passengers can make a last-minute cancellation and inform the provider why they will not be at their pick-up point. This is the best way to deal with such a situation so that the transport company won’t be left in the lurch. New arrangements can still be made if the passenger needs transport in the future.

Unfortunately, no shows due to such emergencies—with no prior notice to the NEMT provider—are still very common.

Ignorance of Technology 

Some clients might not have the knowledge about or access to smartphones and mobile apps where they can reschedule their appointments. 

NEMT Transportation No Show Policy

Transport companies must have no show policies that clients must agree with before they set an appointment. Some providers require at least 24 hours before a free cancellation, while others accommodate changes a few hours before the pick-up time. 

If passengers fail to contact the provider within the provided timeframe or do not appear at all, they are considered no shows. 

What Happens if Passengers are a No Show?

NEMT passenger in wheelchair

When passengers do not arrive at the pick-up point for their NEMT transport, they can be penalized depending on the time, fuel, or distance. 

Some providers have strict guidelines and charge all passengers. However, some only report a no show in their system and continue with operations.

How No Show Passengers are Reported in NEMT

No show passengers are reported through an automated calling system or NEMT software. These systems leverage notifications and reminders to analyze such events and minimize their occurrences. 

Transport companies can then change policies, guidelines, and dispatching processes to improve no show numbers.

How NEMT Providers Can Address No Show Challenges

Providers can use several strategies to resolve challenges brought about by no show passengers. 

One of the best ways is to use NEMT software like RouteGenie, which caters to transport providers, drivers, and passengers. The software makes it easy for clients and business owners to improve no show rates, customer service ratings, and driver timeliness performance. 

Here are other strategies to implement:

Use Software That Automates Scheduling and Appointment Reminders

Automated scheduling and appointments send patients reminders about their trips via text, phone call, email, or nemt passenger app notifications. 

Clients can reschedule appointments through text or confirmation messages within the system. Providers are immediately informed about cancellations or schedule changes. 

Offer Schedule Customization for Passengers

Providing an online portal or mobile app where passengers can customize their schedules can vastly improve no show rates. This provides the transparency and control they seek. 

Clearly explain the scheduling, routing, and pick-up process. Patients can also choose a specific transport type that suits them, select all necessary details related to their trip. They can travel in a multi-passenger ride or a special vehicle that meets their mobility and medical requirements. These are just a few reasons why NEMT providers need a client app

Manage Customer Expectations

NEMT providers must manage customer expectations regarding transport guidelines. Passengers should know of penalties they could incur if they are a no show or are late. This makes them understand the value of the provider’s time. It also helps them understand how they will be charged for the service.

One thing that may be difficult to address is patient perception and mindset. It is best to work with brokers and providers to address their fears and misconceptions about the healthcare system. This is where NEMT providers’ customer service can excel.

NEMT software helps providers communicate with patients and address their concerns. Patients will know of their responsibilities as passengers and will be inclined to inform the provider of changes in their trips. 

Provide Different Accessibility Options 

Provide several access options for passengers to manage their appointments. Aside from your official website and mobile app, traditional options are crucial for those who are not tech-savvy. 

RouteGenie has features that offer passengers these options. Using it reduces no shows by up to 50% with the help of an automated call system and on-hold algorithm. Providers can accept over-the-phone cancellations or schedule changes. They can also receive emails or text messages. 

NEMT Software: a Digital Solution to Address No Shows

Working on computer

No shows will remain a challenge to the NEMT industry and transport as a whole. However, companies can control the rates of no shows when they provide patients with much-needed transparency and control. 

The best way to do this is with digital solutions, such as NEMT software. Here are the reasons why software can address these challenges:

Real-Time Monitoring of Vehicle Location and Live Dispatching

Global positioning system (GPS) locators help drivers and patients navigate so they know if they are near the pick-up point. GPS allows passengers and drivers to know their exact location in real-time to ensure a smooth trip. With software, providers and passengers can track the location of vehicles in real time. They are immediately alerted if a replacement for last-minute passenger cancellations is needed. Also, live dispatching allows to find the most suitable driver if current cannot make it on time. This ensures that time and resources are maximized. 

Improves Driver Timeliness and Performance

Drivers are often given multiple trips in one day. With software, they can easily manage their routes and schedules. 

If there is a change in location or pick-up time, drivers can also use the software to reroute the trip so they can continue to serve the patient without losing time.  

Match Client and Driver Schedules 

Some clients have specific transport requirements. Having software that can match client requests can help companies manage their specialized fleets. These appointments can be automatically scheduled in the system, and drivers and clients are reminded of their trip so they won’t miss it. 

Leveraging Technology to Minimize NEMT No Shows

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to eliminate no shows entirely, technology such as automation and NEMT software provides many possibilities for transport companies. 

NEMT providers that want to improve their on-time performance and increase revenue must leverage their solutions to minimize wasted resources. With the industry's continuing growth, increasing revenue and mitigating passenger no shows are more important than ever. 

NEMT software is a complete solution for transport companies. RouteGenie has scheduling, routing, dispatching, billing, fleet management, communication, and many other features to ensure smooth operations. With this software, no shows are reduced by up to 50%. Book a demo to find out how!

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About the author

Yurii Martynov
Yurii Martynov

As RouteGenie's Marketing Director, Yurii gained deep knowledge in the NEMT industry. He is an expert in marketing, utilizing all marketing channels to build RouteGenie's brand and to make sure NEMT providers have access to powerful NEMT software that can boost their growth. Yurii shares his knowledge by writing content on topics related to marketing, and the healthcare industry: medical transportation, home care, and medical billing.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. The information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.