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600 Mile, Long Distance NEMT Trips | NEMT Experts Podcast Episode 36
July 10, 2024

600 Mile, Long Distance NEMT Trips | NEMT Experts Podcast Episode 36

600 Mile, Long Distance NEMT Trips | NEMT Experts Podcast Episode 36

See the full interview on YouTube. 

Please don't forget to subscribe and like NEMT Experts Podcast on YouTube.

Also, available to watch on Spotify


And listen (audio only) on your other favorite podcast platforms Apple and Pandora.

Podcast Show Notes:

Bambi CEO Nirav Chheda talks with Ryan Reifert, Owner of Carelink Transportation, on how his NEMT business does extremely long distance NEMT trips.This podcast offers valuable insights into the NEMT industry. Ryan's emphasis on building relationships, embracing technology, and diversifying revenue streams has contributed to the significant growth of his company in a short period. CareLink's willingness to take on long-distance trips and focus on reliability and cleanliness further sets them apart in the competitive NEMT market. Their success story demonstrates the importance of adaptability, strong company culture, and a customer-centric approach in the transportation industry.

Summary:

  • Diversified Revenue Streams: CareLink doesn't rely solely on broker trips, actively cultivating private pay clients and contracts with local facilities. This approach helps mitigate risks associated with fluctuating broker demand.
  • Strong Company Culture: CareLink prioritizes employee well-being and fosters a positive work environment. This contributes to high employee retention and excellent customer service, which in turn attracts more clients.
  • Adaptability and Technology: CareLink embraces technology to improve efficiency and scalability. Their switch to Bambi software demonstrates their commitment to finding solutions that streamline operations and enhance the overall experience for both drivers and clients.
  • Openness to Long-Distance Trips: CareLink differentiates itself by willingly taking on long-distance trips, including out-of-state transport. This willingness fills a gap in the market and creates unique opportunities for growth.
  • Focus on Reliability and Cleanliness: CareLink prioritizes maintaining a reliable and clean fleet, which has led to customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

Interesting quotes:

  • "You're part of the team, and we got your back if you have ours." - Ryan Reifert
  • "We're always looking for any type of extra transportation." - Ryan Reifert
  • "There's no customer loyalty that's stronger than that." - Ryan Reifert

How to Start an NEMT Business in Arkansas: A Several Part “Bambi Knows Best” State-By-State Series Part 4: Secure Funding in Arkansas
July 12, 2024

How to Start an NEMT Business in Arkansas: A Several Part “Bambi Knows Best” State-By-State Series Part 4: Secure Funding in Arkansas

Part 4: Secure Funding in Arkansas


Starting a startup involves startup (and sustaining) costs. It's important to be honest with oneself and business partners about the initial investment required. Factoring in expenses such as vehicle purchases, licensing fees, insurance costs, marketing expenses and operational overhead are just to name a few. Upon crunching the numbers, consider seeking adequate funding to successfully launch and sustain your NEMT business during its initial stages.

The following links and steps below are a good place to start to look for financial support. Explore funding options such as small business loans, seeking angel investors or even crowd-funding platforms.

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) is an economic development program based in higher education. They support entrepreneurs, whether they are starting out or experienced, by providing assistance with every aspect of business creation, management and operation.

 
Here’s an initial list of some of your options in Arkansas:

1 | Small Business Loans

The SBA offers various loan programs for small businesses, including the 7(a) loan program, which provides financial assistance for businesses with special requirements.
The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) is a great source to contact to look for small business loans.

2 | Financial incentives 

Arkansas Capital offers several programs and resources for new businesses, including financial assistance and incentives.

3 | Grants 

While direct grants for starting a business are rare, there are grants available for purposes like technological innovation and rural development. If you provide NEMT services to rural Arkansas residents, you may have an opportunity to apply for a grant through Grants.gov, a comprehensive resource for federal grants.

You're over halfway through this series! To move on to Part 5 on expanding your NEMT fleet, click here. Alternatively, you can explore other sections in the series by visiting the table of contents here.

How to Start an NEMT Business in Arkansas: A Several Part “Bambi Knows Best” State-By-State Series Part 3: Study Arkansas’ Regulations and Get Insured
July 11, 2024

How to Start an NEMT Business in Arkansas: A Several Part “Bambi Knows Best” State-By-State Series Part 3: Study Arkansas’ Regulations and Get Insured

Part 3: Study Arkansas’ Regulations and Get Insured

To successfully launch your NEMT business in Arkansas, you need to navigate both state and federal regulations. This includes understanding the specific registration and compliance requirements in Arkansas, as well as adhering to federal guidelines.


1 | Find out Arkansas' NEMT Requirements

Arkansas has specific licensing and permit requirements for NEMT providers. You generally need to meet certain criteria such as clearing background checks, driver and vehicle requirements as well as comply with the other requirements requested by The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS). This NEMT license is necessary to operate legally and provide transportation services to Medicaid recipients in the state. 

2 | Stay on top of federal NEMT regulations

NEMT services are also subject to federal regulations established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Ensure you are familiar with these federal requirements before starting your business operations.


3 | Get insured

Securing the appropriate insurance coverage is crucial for establishing a reliable and legally compliant NEMT business. This insurance protects your company, employees and patients against accidents, injuries and other unforeseen events. While  ITR  is one provider that can cover specific aspects, you will need various types of insurance to fully protect your business.

4 | Obtain necessary licenses and permits

Check with local city and county offices, as well as the Arkansas Insurance Department for specifics around NEMT businesses.

5 | Know your employer responsibilities

If you hire employees, you’ll need to comply with employment laws, including workers' compensation insurance, unemployment insurance and the reporting of new hires. It’s the law! The Arkansas Department of Labor is a great source of information on this complex topic!

By following these steps and using available resources, you can ensure that your new business in Arkansas is established correctly and complies with state regulations. 

How to Start an NEMT Business in Arkansas: A Several Part “Bambi Knows Best” State-By-State Series Part 2: Develop a Business Plan and Get Registered in Arkansas
July 10, 2024

How to Start an NEMT Business in Arkansas: A Several Part “Bambi Knows Best” State-By-State Series Part 2: Develop a Business Plan and Get Registered in Arkansas

Part 2: Develop a Business Plan and Get Registered in Arkansas

Since you’ve gained all those valuable insights from your Arkansas NEMT market research in Part 1, now it’s time to develop a detailed business plan. This is important for several reasons — like for registering your business and obtaining any potential funding. 

If you require further assistance, consider contacting local business consultancies and business education centers like The Innovation Hub and Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC).

We also recommend furthering your research through the Arkansas Department of Commerce and The Arkansas Secretary of State. Starting a new business and writing up a plan in Arkansas involves several important steps such as: selecting a business structure, registering the business, obtaining the necessary licenses and permits and understanding tax rules.

Here is a quick guide to help you through this part of the process:

1 | Choose a Business Entity

Decide on the legal structure of your business. Common options include Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), and Corporation (C-Corp or S-Corp). Each structure has different legal and tax implications so be sure to understand the differences.

2 | Register Your Business Name and Entity

After selecting the entity that best suits your needs, you'll want to come up with a name for it. Have fun with it, we did when we came up with our name, Bambi, for instance! 

Anyway, both the entity and the name must then be registered with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration if you are conducting business in Arkansas or with Arkansas customers.

3 | Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Apply for an EIN from the IRS if you will have employees or operate as a corporation or partnership.

4 | Register for State Taxes

You’ll need to register with the Arkansas Taxpayer Access Point (ATAP) for state taxes such as sales tax and employer withholding tax.

Excellent! To move on to Part 3, where we discuss Arkansas' regulations and how to obtain insurance, click here. Or, if you’d rather, you can navigate to different sections in the series by visiting the table of contents here.

How to Start an NEMT Business in Arkansas: A Several Part “Bambi Knows Best” State-By-State Series  Part 1: Research the Arkansas NEMT Market
July 9, 2024

How to Start an NEMT Business in Arkansas: A Several Part “Bambi Knows Best” State-By-State Series Part 1: Research the Arkansas NEMT Market

Part 1: Research the Arkansas NEMT Market

Prior to launching a new NEMT business in Arkansas, it's important to conduct thorough market research. This step ensures you avoid entering an oversaturated market and helps identify gaps in existing NEMT services. For example, you might discover that while there are NEMT providers in your particular area, they only serve Adult Day Care centers. This gap presents an opportunity to expand your services to rehabilitation centers, hospitals and other healthcare facilities. 

In this section, we'll guide you on how to get started and where to focus your market research efforts in Arkansas.

1 | Identify existing NEMT providers in your area

In Arkansas, there are several NEMT providers operating under contracts with the state or through private arrangements. These providers work together to ensure that Medicaid beneficiaries and other eligible individuals in Arkansas have access to necessary medical transportation services. Some of the most notable NEMT providers and brokers include:

  • Modivcare (formally, LogistiCare Solutions, LLC): Modivcare is a major NEMT broker that manages transportation services for Medicaid beneficiaries in many states, including Arkansas.
  • Verida (formally, Southeastrans): This company is also a significant player in the NEMT industry, providing transportation services for Medicaid recipients and working with local subcontractors to deliver services.
  • Arkansas Transit Association (ATA): ATA includes various local transit agencies and NEMT providers across the state, offering transportation solutions tailored to the needs of Arkansas residents.
  • Uber Health: Offers HIPAA-enabled NEMT services. Healthcare providers can request and monitor patient rides through their platform.
  • Your favorite search engine. Of course, one can always perform their own search with the keywords, “NEMT providers in Arkansas” or get more granular with your search by putting in specific municipalities (i.e. “NEMT companies in Little Rock”).

2 | Assess the demand for NEMT services

Assess whether there is sufficient demand for your NEMT business in your local Arkansas area. Consider whether you will be crossing multiple jurisdictional lines or operating within a limited radius. To make this determination, research local hospitals, health and wellness facilities and other establishments such as:

  • Adult Day Care (ADC) Centers. As of today, there are over 38 adult day care centers in Arkansas. These centers provide crucial support services for the elderly and individuals with disabilities, offering a safe and engaging environment during the day while giving caregivers a much-needed respite​ (Source: AgingCare and CareArkansas)​.
  • Dialysis Clinics. As of 2024, there are 116 dialysis facilities in Arkansas. These facilities are spread across various cities and provide essential services to patients requiring regular dialysis treatments​ (Source: Healthcare4PPL)​​.
  • Physical Therapy Centers. There are numerous physical therapy centers across Arkansas, providing a range of rehabilitation services to patients. It’s tricky to find an exact number. One way to find this out would be by reaching out to the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS).
  • Hospitals: As of 2022, Arkansas has a total of 112 hospitals. These hospitals include various types such as general acute care hospitals, critical access hospitals, specialty hospitals and psychiatric hospitals. For the most accurate and current count, you may want to verify with the DHS or other authoritative sources. Some of the major hospital systems are CHI St. Vincent Health System, Baptist Health and Mercy Health.
  • Rehabilitation centers.  We don’t have an up-to-date number here either, but many hospitals have partnering rehab centers so it’s always best to reach out to them. You can also reach out to these biggest players in the state or Arkansas: HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Smith, Baptist Health Rehabilitation Institute and HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Jonesboro.
  • Nursing homes and assisted living facilities. According to the Arkansas DHS, there are approximately 230 nursing homes in Arkansas. 
  • Outpatient care centers. Just like rehab facilities, there is a large amount of outpatient care centers throughout the state — talk to your local hospitals for more information on these estimates.

3 | Decide on a target market

After researching NEMT market opportunities and assessing demand, identify the demographic that makes the most sense to target, such as seniors, individuals with disabilities or a broader patient population. Specializing in a specific group will help you tailor your services and marketing strategies effectively.

The population of Arkansas is estimated to be around 3.02 million in 2024​ (Source: World Population Review and Neilsberg)​. For a relatively large state, this population size is considered moderate.


4 | Choose a specific NEMT service (or offer them all!)

NEMT providers offer ambulatory, stretcher and wheelchair services. It's best to start with one service based on market needs and gaps, then expand. This ensures sustainability. Observe competitors and either differentiate or find a niche needing support. Begin with a well-equipped fleet tailored to your chosen service, whether it's for ADCs or physical therapy centers.

5 | Understand the different Medicaid delivery models

In Arkansas, the Medicaid program utilizes one single main regional broker for NEMT. The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) contracts this broker which is Modivcare (formally known as Logisticare Solutions, LLC) to manage and coordinate NEMT services for Medicaid beneficiaries. Modivcare then contracts with various transportation providers (including ambulatory and wheelchair-accessible vans) to provide these NEMT services to the riders in need.

This regional broker, Modivcare, may also work with qualified subcontractors in their respective areas, acting as gatekeepers who process transportation requests and address complaints to maintain service quality. It’s important to note that the DMS conducts regular reviews of these brokers to ensure high-quality service. There are other smaller regional brokers (beyond the Modivcare) acting in support alongside and include a mix of for-profit national companies and Arkansas-based human services brokers, such as development councils, area agencies on aging and community action agencies.

Here are some fast AR facts according to report State-by-State Profiles for Examining the Effects of Non-Emergency MEdical Transportation Brokerages on Transportation Coordination:

  • NEMT Model is a Regional Broker
  • The Operating Authority is Federal SEction 1915 (b) Freedom-of-Choice Waiver
  • NEMT expense is classified as a “Medical Expense” (Source: Kaiser Family Foundation)
  • 19% live below poverty (US Census 2015 5-Year Estimates)
  • 40% live in Urbanized Areas (US Census 2010)
  • $33.9 Million is the estimated annual NEMT 2013 expense (Source 2014 National NEMT Survey)
  • 1,088,117 is the 2013 estimated number of annual NEMT trips

6 | Getting Paid

It’s good to get paid, eh? NEMT fee schedules in Arkansas follow the guidelines and rates set by the Arkansas Medicaid program. Here's a quick overview:

NEMT services for Medicaid recipients are reimbursed based on the established fee schedule, which includes mileage rates for various vehicle types (i.e. wheelchair vans, stretcher vans) and rates for waiting time. Providers must adhere to these rates when billing Medicaid.

Arkansas Medicaid operates under a managed care model, where some recipients are enrolled in managed care organizations (MCOs). MCOs have their own contracts and fee schedules with NEMT providers, who must comply with these rates and guidelines when serving their members.

To receive payment, NEMT providers submit claims for services rendered to Medicaid recipients. Claims are processed and reimbursed according to the fee schedule rates and any additional guidelines from Arkansas Medicaid or the MCOs.

Great job navigating through this information-packed first part! Now, let's move on to Part 2, where we'll focus on developing a business plan. Click here to continue, or you can skip ahead to other sections in the series by visiting the table of contents.

How to Start an NEMT Business in Arkansas:  A Several Part “Bambi Knows Best” State-By-State Series
July 9, 2024

How to Start an NEMT Business in Arkansas: A Several Part “Bambi Knows Best” State-By-State Series

Howdy there, folks! Welcome to the lush and lovely rolling hills of Arkansas — you can almost see Bambi (or at least his cousins) prancing through them. Known as the Natural State, Arkansas boasts breathtaking landscapes and a warm, blended charm of the Southern and Midwestern spirit. With its rich agricultural heritage, Arkansans embody hard work, innovation and a strong sense of community, making it an ideal environment for your entrepreneurial journey.

Arkansas isn't just about its crops; it’s about the people who care for them, too. As many farmers in the fields today are getting older (for instance, the average farmer’s age is 57 years old!) and retiring, there is an increasing need for healthcare and transportation to appointments.
That said, Arkansas is an excellent place in the Southern Midwest to launch your non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) business for several reasons beyond the aging farmer population. From the bustling urban centers of Little Rock, Fayetteville and Fort Smith to the expansive rural areas across the state, there are abundant opportunities to establish your NEMT business.

In this Bambi Knows Best series we’ll guide you through each step in starting your own certified NEMT business in Arkansas. From researching the local market and crafting a business plan to navigating regulations, securing funding, building your fleet, hiring and training your team and managing that essential technology (maybe you even choose ours!).

As you embark on your research journey, we suggest hiring local consultants and connecting with other NEMT business owners in your area for valuable insights. Because at Bambi, we believe in cultivating a forest of friends over frenemies!

Here's a handy (or rather, hoofy) table of contents to guide you through the articles that cater to your specific needs:

Part 1: Research the Arkansas NEMT market
Part 2: Develop a business plan and get registered in Arkansas
Part 3: Study Arkansas’ regulations and get insured
Part 4: Secure funding in Arkansas
Part 5: Flesh Out Your NEMT Fleet in Arkansas
Part 6: Hire and Train Up Your NEMT Dream Team
Part 7: Take Care of That Tech

All in all, you’ll see that starting an NEMT business in Arkansas demands dedication, meticulous planning and an unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional patient care. Through comprehensive research of the Arkansas market, adherence to local rules and regulations, securing funding and vehicles, assembling a skilled team and leveraging technology, you can tackle challenges with the agility of Bambi and establish a thriving NEMT business that makes a positive impact on your local Arkansas community. You got this!

Reducing Carbon Footprints and Cognitive Loads Through Sustainable and Soft aiNEMT Software: A 2-part Bambi Knows Best Series
July 7, 2024

Reducing Carbon Footprints and Cognitive Loads Through Sustainable and Soft aiNEMT Software: A 2-part Bambi Knows Best Series

Part 2 | Lowering NEMT Business Owners’ Cognitive Load 


As you’ve already seen in the first of this series, how our aiNEMT software is making the world a greener place, in this second edition, we’ll delve into how our well-being-minded software is making the NEMT world a turquoise greener place. Yes, it’s that soft, soothing blue/green is our main brand color — for good reason. It contributes to this lowering of an NEMT business owner’s cognitive load.

Let’s face it, entrepreneurs, especially in healthcare services, have a lot on their plates. They need support in the reduction of clutter in their tools and timetables. This is where we come in to help: by offering softness in our tech stack to ease their minds,calm their Bambi hearts and support their suite of services, swiftly and soothingly.

Soft and scientifically calming

Bambi's platform is crafted to be soft on the eyes and scientifically calming for the mind. Our simple, clean design ensures a clutter-free interface, which reduces cognitive load and promotes mental clarity. By integrating ample white space and soothing color palettes, we create an environment that’s as refreshing as it is functional and as visually spacious as Bambi’s lush light-filled forest.

"Inside our platform, customers experience clutter-free, cleansing white space that reduces cognitive load and puts the mind at ease," adds Henick. "They also experience soothing splashes of tranquil turquoise in our buttons to call attention to calm — it’s our primary brand color, after all!"


Softies building software for softies

Our experienced team of software developers is dedicated to continually refining our platform. Whether you're a seasoned NEMT business veteran or new to the industry, our platform is designed to be as easy to navigate as pressing down on the pedal and going. By prioritizing user-friendly interfaces and intuitive functionalities, we ensure that everyone can benefit from our software without feeling overwhelmed. The less stress the better for that heart and head health!

Through our simple, soft software, we’ve created a platform where NEMT business owners can thrive mentally and emotionally, enabling them to be fully present for those they care for.

So why don’t you join us in our mission to make the world a softer place to live? With Bambi, you can navigate the complexities of NEMT operations with ease, one click of Run Bambi Run and a peaceful patient ride at a time.

Reducing Carbon Footprints and Cognitive Loads Through Sustainable and Soft aiNEMT Software: A 2-part Bambi Knows Best Series
July 6, 2024

Reducing Carbon Footprints and Cognitive Loads Through Sustainable and Soft aiNEMT Software: A 2-part Bambi Knows Best Series

Part 1 | Lowering the NEMT Industry’s Carbon Footprint

In today's overly fast-paced world, technology often feels overwhelming. The need for simple and sustainable tools has never been needed more.

Here at Bambi, we believe that software should support the mental well-being of its users and at the same time contribute to the health of our planet — because why create more products that harm the environment? It's our only planet, after all; Bambi's, yours and ours! So, we developed a non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) software as a service (SaaS) platform designed with this dual mission of people and planet care in mind.

Our human-centric approach not only reduces the cognitive load of our dear customers — those savvy NEMT business users — but also minimizes their carbon footprint out in the field as they pick up their passengers via the most optimal routes in their, ideally, eco-friendly fleet — addressing the pressing issue of climate change.

In this first edition, we’ll tell-all how our sustainable-minded all-in-fun aiNEMT software is reducing the NEMT industry’s carbon footprint and making the world in which we live a greener place. 

A sustainable solution for a greener planet

Climate change is one of the most critical challenges facing our planet today. At Bambi, we are committed to playing our part in mitigating its impacts. And through this commitment to sustainability, we offer a NEMT SaaS solution that truly embodies our values.

In addition to supporting the mental well-being of our users, we’re committed to reducing the NEMT industry’s environmental footprint. We do this by prioritizing continual iterations of our aiNEMT-powered scheduling and routing algorithms, so that they are constantly improving a fleet’s operational efficiency — through optimized routes and reduced idle times, all by minimizing fuel consumption and emissions and thus contributing to a greener planet. 

One standout feature is our "Run Bambi Run" button, which ensures efficient patient transportation and reduces unnecessary mileage. Whether patients are headed to medical appointments or returning home after treatment, our software ensures they travel sustainably and comfortably.

By integrating these sorts of sustainable initiatives into our platform, we help NEMT providers reduce their carbon footprint. This benefits the environment and aligns with the growing demand for eco-friendly solutions in the NEMT industry. And so there you have it folks; greener ways of doing tech, and with Bambi on your side, they will always be greener days ahead.

We invite you to us in our mission to make the world a softer, more sustainable place to live. With Bambi, you can navigate the complexities of NEMT operations with ease and contribute to a healthier planet, one ride at a time.

Family Empire in Non Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) | NEMT Experts Podcast Episode 35
July 5, 2024

Family Empire in Non Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) | NEMT Experts Podcast Episode 35

Family Empire in Non Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) | NEMT Experts Podcast Episode 35

See the full interview on YouTube.

Please don't forget to subscribe and like NEMT Experts Podcast on YouTube.

Also, available to watch on Spotify


And listen (audio only) on your other favorite podcast platforms Apple and Pandora.

Podcast Show Notes:

Bambi CEO Nirav Chheda talks with Jarrod Hilliard, son and protégé of Roslyn Taggart (Owner of B811 Medical Transportation), on how he has helped grow his family's NEMT business.

Summary:

The podcast episode features Jared Hilliard, the son of Rosalind Tagore, discussing his involvement in his mother's medical transportation business. Jared shares his journey from being a college football player to working full-time in the family business after his uncle's illness inspired his mother to start VA 11. He talks about the roles he plays in the business, his relationship with his mother as his boss, and the rapid growth of their company. Jared also reflects on the challenges and rewards of working in the NEMT industry and his aspirations for the future, including expanding their services to include gurney and potentially helicopter transportation.

Key takeaways:

  • Family Inspiration: The business was inspired by the need to provide transportation for Jared's uncle, who became disabled.
  • Rapid Growth: VA 11 has grown from one vehicle to five in under two years.
  • Learning Curve: Jared has learned many aspects of the NEMT business, from driving to operations and scheduling.
  • Family Dynamics: Working closely with his mother has its challenges, but the shared mission and strong relationship outweigh any difficulties.
  • Future Aspirations: The business aims to expand into gurney and possibly helicopter transportation.

Interesting quotes:

  • On Working with His Mom: "I wouldn't want to work with nobody but my mom and build this up. I have kids, build a legacy and watch her step by step."
  • On the NEMT Industry: "Compared to the job I used to work at, this is a walk in the park... I'm just picking clients and dropping them off to where they need to go."
  • On Learning the Business: "It's something new at least once a week... I'm learning something new every day as far as the business."
  • On Client Relationships: "I try to treat them like they're your grandparents... A small hi, hello, how your day been actually means a lot to them."
  • On Future Goals: "My mom wants to do helicopter medical transport... hopefully by next summer we will be having gurney transportation."