How to Get an NEMT Certification

As NEMT services become more popular, it is important for providers to be properly certified and trained.

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How to Get an NEMT Certification

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) is a vital service that provides transportation to individuals who need medical attention but do not require emergency transportation. NEMT services are often necessary for people unable to drive for medical appointments due to mobility issues, age, income, or illness. It is also used by those who do not have access to public transportation or a vehicle of their own.

In many ways, the NEMT industry can be seen as being in its infancy. Due to large demographic changes in the population and increases in chronic health conditions, the demand for transportation services is expected to rise significantly in the coming years. According to a recent study from the private equity firm Insight Partners, the non-emergency medical transportation market is expected to grow to $15.57 billion by 2028 from $8.65 billion in 2021. This represents an exciting 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the upcoming years.

As NEMT services become more popular, it is important for providers to be properly certified and trained. The requirements to run a NEMT business vary from state to state, but typically include a combination of insurance and liability coverage, criminal background checks for drivers, a business license, vehicle inspections, drug testing, safety training, and ADA-compliant vehicles. Although some municipalities have specific certification requirements for NEMT providers, there is still no national standard.

Due to this lack of standardization, NEMT certification is often viewed as a voluntary credential. However, obtaining a certification can help providers demonstrate their commitment to excellence and set themselves apart from the competition. There are various organizations that offer certification programs that can help providers demonstrate this commitment to high standards.

The Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission (NEMTAC) is one example of a national certification body that offers certification to NEMT providers who meet its rigorous standards and requirements. NEMT certification requirements typically include training modules, policies and procedures, driver assessments, vehicle inspections and maintenance records, documentation, and customer service standards.

The NEMT certification process typically takes approximately 90 days. The cost of a NEMT certification can vary depending on the specific provider and the certification package chosen. In many cases, certification costs are based on the number of vehicles and drivers a provider has. Costs can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

What Are the NEMT Certification Standards?

Specific NEMT certification standards can vary depending on the organization offering the certification. However, the following are some common standards for NEMT providers and NEMT certification:

  • Driver Training – NEMT certification for drivers involves proper training for the safe transport of individuals to and from medical appointments. This may include first-aid and CPR certification, defensive driving classes, wheelchair transport training, and vehicle maintenance/safety.
  • Dispatcher Training - Dispatchers must also be professionally trained and certified in the scheduling and dispatching of vehicles. NEMT certification for dispatchers involves understanding customer needs, ensuring accurate record-keeping, and complying with various regulatory requirements.
  • Company Training - NEMT certification for companies includes developing an understanding of general NEMT business practices related to risk management, customer service, and quality assurance.
  • Vehicle Safety – The vehicles must be thoroughly inspected and maintained to ensure they are safe for use. This includes regular inspections of brakes, tires, lights, windows, and other areas of the vehicle.
  • Insurance Requirements – Providers must have adequate insurance coverage for accidents and incidents. This typically includes general liability, vehicle coverage, and medical malpractice insurance.
  • Compliance and Regulation – Providers must be compliant with any relevant local, state, and federal regulations regarding NEMT services. This may include periodic audits of safety records and customer service policies.
  • ADA Compliance – Providers must ensure their vehicles are ADA compliant, meaning they can accommodate disabled individuals and equipment. This includes making sure the vehicles have proper ramps, lifts, or other features to assist with loading/unloading.

NEMT Certification Benefits

There are numerous NEMT certification benefits for NEMT transportation providers. Some of these benefits include:

  • Improved Passenger Safety – Certified NEMT drivers have undergone training and testing that helps to ensure they are competent and capable of providing safe non-medical transportation for their passengers. This helps ensure a higher level of safety for those being transported.
  • Quality Assurance – NEMT providers that are properly certified show they have taken the necessary steps to ensure quality services and safe operations. This improves the provider’s reputation and provides assurance to customers that their trips will be safe and reliable.
  • Competitive Advantage – NEMT certification can give a provider a competitive edge when bidding on contracts or vying for customers. Certifications indicate the company is serious about providing quality services and has taken the necessary steps to ensure their vehicles are safe and thoroughly inspected.
  • Regulatory Compliance – NEMT certification helps ensure the provider complies with local, state, and federal regulations regarding NEMT services. This protects the provider from potential legal actions or fines while providing peace of mind that the service is being provided safely and in accordance with applicable laws.

Through proper NEMT certification, providers can reap the benefits of improved passenger safety, quality assurance, and competitive advantage while also protecting themselves from potential legal issues.

NEMT Certification Process

There are several organizations that provide NEMT certification. As previously mentioned, one of the most well-known and widely recognized is the Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission (NEMTAC).

Before beginning the certification and NEMT application process, NEMTAC has four minimum requirements that must be met:

  • Business License - Even if working as a NEMT independent contractor, a valid business license is required to ensure the provider complies with local and state laws.
  • Employer ID Number - NEMT transportation providers wishing to obtain accreditation from NEMTAC must have an Employer ID Number (EIN).
  • National Provider Number - A Medicare/Medicaid National Provider Identifier (NPI) is also necessary to obtain NEMTAC accreditation.
  • Relevant NEMT Eligible Services - The services the provider offers must be services that NEMTAC accredits, such as wheelchair and stretcher van services, non-emergency medical transportation services, and para-transit services.

Once these requirements are met and the NEMTAC Accreditation Standards Self-Assessment Tool has been completed, the provider can apply for NEMT certification training. The actual NEMTAC program is called the Certified Transport Specialist (CTS) course. This course is designed to provide the necessary information and training for NEMT providers to become certified.

The CTS course covers 18 modules, each of which covers a different topic related to NEMT services. This includes modules on topics such as customer service, essential NEMT operator requirements, the transporting of mobility device passengers, HIPAA rules and regulations, CPR, hazard training, and health precaution processes. The course's purpose is to meet and exceed existing standards for NEMT providers.

Upon completion of the non-emergency medical transportation provider application and CTS course, providers and drivers will become nationally certified NEMT professionals accredited by NEMTAC. In addition, they will also receive a certificate of accreditation, a window decal from NEMTAC, and a CTS shoulder patch. NEMTAC's CTS NEMT certification lasts up to two years before renewal is required.

The cost of certification is based on the size and scope of the company’s services. The time frame for obtaining certification depends on the provider’s ability to meet the standards set by NEMTAC.

How to Become a Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Provider

If you are just getting started, you may wonder how to become a non-emergency medical transportation provider. The process is straightforward, and the requirements for becoming a NEMT provider are simple. The following section will break down some of the most important points to consider when becoming a NEMT provider.

Establish a Legal Business Structure 

To provide NEMT services and be reimbursed, you will need to register your business with the applicable local, state, and federal agencies. In most cases, this means establishing your business as a partnership, LLC, or sole proprietorship. It is important to be aware of the legal requirements for each type of business structure in your location, as well as any applicable licensing, insurance, and tax regulations.

Assemble Necessary Legal Documents

Once your business structure is established, you will need to assemble all the necessary legal documents for operation. This includes state-specific driver’s license requirements, business licenses, vehicle registration forms, and any NEMT-related certifications or permits as required by the state you are operating in. Providers should carefully review any state-specific requirements, as each state is likely to have its own rules and regulations.

Obtain Insurance

Obtaining insurance policies is necessary for all NEMT providers. Liability insurance and commercial auto coverage are essential to protecting the business and its drivers should they become involved in an accident. Without these policies, you could personally be liable for any damages caused in an accident or other incident involving your vehicles.

The cost of insurance will vary depending on the size and scope of your business, as well as the drivers and vehicles you are using for transport. One way to decrease the cost of insurance is to invest in specialized training for your drivers. Additionally, with the use of MediRoutes' Driver Insights, employee's real-time driving habits can be monitored, while encouraging safer practices on the road. 

Develop Your Fleet

NEMT providers will need to obtain a fleet of vehicles and hire competent medical transport drivers. NEMT vehicles requirements should include being ADA compliant and meet any relevant local and state regulations. They should also be equipped with oxygen tanks, stretchers, wheelchairs, and any other equipment necessary to safely transport your customers.

Build Your Customer Base

Once you have obtained the necessary legal documents, insurance policies, vehicles, and drivers, you can begin building your customer base. This can be done through creating a website or social media presence, as well as networking with assisted living facilities, local hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, retirement communities, and medical centers. Developing relationships with these organizations will help you get referrals and establish a reputable name in the NEMT industry.

Pick The Best NEMT Software

Finally, you should invest in a quality NEMT software solution to help manage your business operations. NEMT software is a new and ground-breaking software solution that helps providers manage their fleets, optimize scheduling, track vehicle maintenance and utilization, improve billing accuracy and efficiency, and more.

MediRoutes has been hailed as the number one NEMT management tool to come on the market. With features such as real-time dispatching, optimized scheduling, and advanced billing capabilities, MediRoutes is the perfect solution to help you streamline your operations and maximize the efficiency of your business.

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