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DEARBORN, Mich., April 18, 2018 – During a recent Michigan snowstorm, Ernestine “Tina” Brighton was feeling nervous about traveling to her medical appointment. There was a foot of snow on the ground when the driver of Ford’s new GoRide transportation service arrived to pick her up, but as he assisted her into an outfitted Ford Transit, secured her wheelchair for the ride and began the journey, Brighton said she couldn’t have felt safer or more comfortable.
What’s more, she made it to her appointment on time, then back home to Beaumont Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing Center, where the driver helped her inside and dropped her papers off with the staff before departing. Brighton has been a fan since the GoRide pilot began in late 2017, and is happy to keep using the service now that it’s officially providing non-emergency medical transportation for Beaumont Health.
“The first time I went in a GoRide, it was so clean,” said Brighton. “You felt really secure. The drivers were excellent – they were very kind to me. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed moving to GoRide.”
Looking to raise the bar for patients like Brighton who need help making it to their medical appointments, Ford is launching its new GoRide non-emergency medical transportation service in Southeast Michigan, covering more than 200 facilities within the Beaumont Health network.
With GoRide, health systems such as Beaumont can easily schedule and book transportation for their patients, ensuring they safely arrive to their medical appointments on time and then get back to the comfort of their own homes or residence facilities. The program features properly outfitted Ford Transit vans that can comfortably accommodate a variety of patients, including the elderly, those in wheelchairs and others with mobility challenges. GoRide also serves patients who simply lack easy access to transportation.
Every year in the United States, missed appointments and scheduling inefficiencies cost the healthcare industry $150 billion, according to a report by SCI Solutions. Proper non-emergency medical transportation such as Ford GoRide can encourage preventative healthcare, get patients home from discharges faster, reduce re-admission rates and the need for emergency services, and prevent missed medical appointments.
“There’s no excuse for the fact that so many people have trouble simply making it to their medical appointments,” said Marion Harris, vice president, Ford Mobility Business Group. “By merging our expertise in vehicles, technology and human-centered design, we’ve created a high-touch, patient-focused service that truly understands and is tailored to patients and their needs. Our service is focused on multiple social determinants of health, and delivers the quality of care and on-time certainty that medical facilities need in order to increase throughput and reduce wait times.”
As the population ages, there is a growing need for proper non-emergency medical transportation. Almost half of all U.S. adults suffer from one or more chronic health conditions, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while 25 percent of them have two or more. With unreliable transportation the cause of missed appointments nationwide, having a dependable way to get to and from the doctor is crucial to ensuring patients receive the routine treatment they need to maintain their health.
GoRide’s non-emergency medical transportation offers true on-demand service, including for those in wheelchairs and other special needs, plus the ability to pre-book transport up to 30 days in advance. It not only removes transportation barriers for patients, but also provides certainty for medical staff: In its pilot phase, GoRide delivered a 92 percent on-time patient pick-up and delivery rate, with average wait times of only 10 to 30 minutes for on-demand wheelchair transport. In addition, GoRide’s service focuses on systems-level benefits to hospitals and payers, using data analytics to help stakeholders better deliver on their goals in population health management.
“This is precisely what we needed to improve access to medical care at Beaumont’s facilities for our patients who are elderly, in wheelchairs or have mobility challenges,” said Paul E. LaCasse, D.O., MPH, executive vice president, Post-Acute Care Division and Diversified Business Operations, Beaumont Health. “At Beaumont, we work very hard to provide extraordinary and compassionate care during every interaction with our patients and their families. We are certain that the GoRide non-emergency transportation service and its drivers meet the high quality standards we hold.”
GoRide drivers go through a full training regimen regarding the proper way to care for and transport patients requiring non-emergency medical support. They can assist patients to and from their doorstep at private residences, entering and exiting the vehicle, and making their way to and from appointments. GoRide drivers are also trained to support skilled nursing facilities in need of bedside-to-bedside services.
When the GoRide pilot with Beaumont Health began in late 2017, there were five Transit Wagon vans properly outfitted to provide patient transportation. GoRide currently has 15 Transit vehicles at its disposal, with plans to add another 10 by midyear and up to 60 vans by the end of the year.
With Transit offering the space to accommodate many types of patients, as well as flexible seating options, the vehicle is key to GoRide’s successful implementation. Ford Transit offers three roof heights, three lengths and two wheelbases, as well as customizable seating arrangements, making it the perfect option for patients with unique needs.
The GoRide fleet features flexible seats that can be flipped up to accommodate two wheelchair positions. Some of the vehicles feature bus doors or running boards to ease entry, as well as grab handles to help patients with stability while entering. Much of the fleet employs a wider wheelchair lift that can accommodate non-standard-size wheelchairs – making it feasible for assisting bariatric patients whose prior transportation options were limited to stretcher.
Ford GoRide is a part of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, Ford’s business focused on designing, building, growing and investing in emerging mobility services globally.