Uber hires 2 healthcare insiders to help grow NEMT business

By | December 7, 2018

Dive Brief:

  • On-demand rideshare Uber has added two industry insiders to its healthcare team, signaling the company’s intention to grow its role in the nonemergency medical transport business.
  • Aaron Crowell, a long-time healthcare consultant, has joined the company as head of Uber Health. For the past year, he also serviced as vice president of healthcare development at One Call Care Management, providing strategic leadership for the NEMT program, according to his LinkedIn page.
  • Uber also snagged Dan Trigub, a regional vice president for Lyft’s healthcare team. He will head up business development at Uber.

Dive Insight:

Rideshares increasingly are eyeing NEMT as a growth area as doctors and hospitals look for ways to curb costly patient no-shows. Each year, about 3.6 million people in the U.S. miss or delay medical care due to transportation-related issues such as a ride to an appointment falling through or a car failing to start. The problem is especially acute in low-income populations dependent on public transportation. 

The financial toll of no-shows for hospitals can run in the millions of dollars annually. According to a retrospective study published by BMC Health Services Research, the average no-show rate for community hospitals was 62 appointments a day, at an annual cost of $ 3 million. At teaching hospitals, the rates for no-shows and late arrivals were 25% and 31%, respectively. 

Earlier this year, Boston-based startup Circulation Health teamed up with AI-enabled Buoy Health to help patients access on-demand transportation. The company coordinates NEMT logistics using Lyft and other ride-sharing partners.

Uber, Lyft and others that have stepped in to meet demand could see a larger opportunity in new Medicare Advantage policy that provides more flexibility around the supplemental benefits they can offer chronically ill enrollees, including nonmedical benefits. The change, part of the 2019 Medicare payment rule, means health plans can tailor supplemental benefits to the specific needs of individuals, including benefits like ride-hailing services.

Uber has “greatly grown our customer base and … added hundreds of new organizations” since launching its health business, company spokeswoman Emilie Gerber told Healthcare Dive in an email. The biggest change has been becoming HIPAA-compliant, which has been certified by Clearwater Compliance, she said.

In addition to the recent hires, Uber is looking for a legal director to join its health business. According to a job listing on the company’s website, the role will “support enhancement and expansion of the Uber Health product offering, including into government healthcare program reimbursement and support functionality.” The position will also assist in commercial agreements.

Lyft recently made a health hire, too, adding former Change Healthcare (McKesson) executive Megan Callahan as vice president of healthcare. Lyft’s jobs site also shows openings in healthcare. The company is searching for a healthcare counsel and a regulatory compliance counsel to join its health team.

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