How to Start a Non-Emergency Transport Business in California
Non-emergency medical transport businesses may not sound necessary, but they play a vital role in the medical system by providing safe transport for those who do not need emergency medical attention but cannot transport themselves. Although not licensed to provide emergency services, non-emergency medical transport, or ambulette, service providers must be licensed by the state in which they operate. In California, ambulette providers must be licensed also with their county's emergency medical services agency.
Purchase one or more medical transport vehicles to be used by your non-emergency transport business. Your ambulette vehicles should be clean, have smooth (dent-free) surfaces, have working doors and latches, and be able to transport a stretcher or wheelchair. You'll stock it with extra-clean linens for bedding if necessary. Non-emergency transport vehicles are not required to include emergency medical equipment; California state code on ambulette services states that ambulettes are not required to provide emergency equipment or services.
Incorporate your business in the state of California as a partnership, a corporation or a limited liability company. Non-emergency medical transport businesses must incorporate as one of these corporate structures in order to apply for county licensing.
Obtain insurance for your ambulette vehicle operators. California regulations mandate that ambulette operators must possess both comprehensive general liability and comprehensive auto liability with a combined single limit of $1,000,000 per incident. Insurance deductibles must be at most $5,000; greater deductibles may be allowable if the county's risk manager grants permission.
Submit applications for ambulette operator licenses for each employee who will operate non-emergency medical transport vehicles for your company. California ambulette operator applications must include an applicant's financial status, geographical areas where the operator will work, the amount of insurance liability the operator possesses as well as the age, condition and capacity of each vehicle which the operator may operate. Applicants must be found to be financially responsible and to be in compliance with all California state ambulette provisions before a license will be issued.
Submit your application for a non-emergency transport business license to your county's emergency medical services agency. This application must include all applicable profit-and-loss statements, a detailed description of the geographical area within which the ambulette service will do business, a schedule of rates charged, insurance and liability coverage as well as a description of business facilities and vehicles. As of 2011, California licensing fees for non-emergency transport services were $361.72 per ambulette.
Apply all vehicle seals issued by your county's department of emergency medical services to your company's ambulettes. According to California state regulations, vehicle seals must be displayed continuously on the left rear portion of all ambulettes.
You do not need an entire fleet of vehicles to start an ambulette service. There are non-emergency transport businesses that have prospered after starting with one vehicle.
Non-emergency transport businesses in California cannot charge more than maximum rates established in state code. As of 2011, maximum rate charges for ambulettes were $36.50 for one patient, $22.75 per patient for two patients and $19.25 per patient for three patients. Ambulette providers may charge a maximum of $5.50 for wheelchair use and $3.50 per mile transported.