As Chief Executive Officer at National MedTrans Network, Inc., Andrew Winakor’s company has – over the last few years – been working on assisting people encountering logistical difficulties with getting to doctor’s appointments. The issue is that often people who have medical appointments far from home, simply do not have the means to get there. As Department of Transportation representative Therese McMillan explained that there are around 3.6 million Americans who end up missing their appointments (or getting there late) each year as they simply do not have a ride. Often, as Andrew Winakor notes, these people are elderly or have a chronic condition and since the US population is aging, a transportation solution needs to be found.
Since hospital staff saw patients arriving in Uber and other ride-hailing services, an idea thus emerged – via National MedTrans Network Inc. – to use the ride-sharing companies to facilitate the trips. The price of the trip is often covered by Medicaid and other medical insurance companies.
It was in February 2015 that the National MedTrans Network decided to establish a partnership with Lyft. This was because as Andrew Winakor explained, the situation had become “dangerous.” When one of their clients – an elderly woman – was left waiting for a ride to a New York hospital in 30 minutes and the driver was a no-show – the National MedTrans Network called one of these services. Within six minutes the lady had her ride inspiring the partnership proposal to “respond immediately to canceled rides.”
The other advantage of this partnership is that since medical appointments can often run late, there is no need to book ahead.