Many Coloradans struggle to access health care appointments and resources because of unmet transportation needs. According to data from the 2015 Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS), 124,536, or 11.9% of Medicaid patients, could not secure transportation to travel to the doctor’s office. This is in comparison to 64,895, or 2.1%, of commercially insured patients in Colorado who reported transportation as a barrier to accessing care at the doctor’s office. Not having reliable transportation is a cost driver in health care. Individuals who are unable to reach their appointments or access resources like prescriptions in a timely fashion tend to rely on the emergency department when their conditions worsen from going unaddressed.
With a clarified policy focus on the structural barriers that can directly impede access to care in the last few years, Center for Health Progress became interested in this issue. We sought to understand how Colorado’s current Medicaid NEMT landscape could, if improved, better allow Coloradans to live healthier lives by accessing health services and resources at the right time.
This memo articulates Colorado’s current Medicaid NEMT infrastructure, as well as a menu of possible legislative/regulatory and non-legislative/regulatory options Center for Health Progress learned from research and conversations with stakeholders to address the issues.Policy Memo - Medicaid NEMT