People are first introduced to non-emergency medical transportation after a hospital stay. They may enter the hospital on foot and leave in a wheelchair or on a stretcher. A taxi cannot accommodate these people. An ambulance is an option, but it is over equipped for the task of transporting a hospital patient in a non-emergency situation. Transporting patients in non-emergency situations is a niche that needs to be filled. Any person looking to start a medical transportation business should do well as long as he follows certain steps.
Devise a business plan. Conduct market research on the medical transportation industry. Examine the businesses of your future local competitors. Talk to patients in hospitals and nursing homes who may be potential customers. Use your research to come up with a business plan. In the plan, detail your business' mission, the goals you have for your business and how you plan to achieve those goals.
Find financing for your non-emergency medical transportation business. Now that you have a business plan, you need to take this plan to the bank to apply for a business loan. You may also solicit loans from friends and family members. You may also apply for government-backed loans, grants and venture capital.
Register your business with your state government.
Obtain licenses and permits. Apply for and receive a transportation license. You may also need to become an approved provider with your state’s department of health and human services.
Get insured. Because you will be transporting patients, you need to be insured against any accidents that could occur. This insurance could come at a hefty price. Check with local and national insurance providers to find the best rates.
Get approval from your state’s Medicaid office. You will find that most of your patients will not be able to pay you directly or through their medical insurance. They pay with Medicaid. To accept payment from Medicaid, you need to be approved by your state’s Medicaid office. This office will help you get registered, get approved and teach you how to submit claims.
Purchase a van with a ramp or hydraulic lift. Assuming you already have a cellphone and a notebook to keep track of appointments, to start a small non-emergency transportation business, you can start with one vehicle. Check your local laws to find out what features the van is required to have. Then you may consider purchasing a used van in good condition rather than spending more money on a completely new van.
- Have adequate financing in case your business does not become profitable for a few months or years.
- Make sure your drivers are adequately trained in case a non-emergency turns into an emergency.