AmeriHealth Caritas: Innovative Uses of On-Demand Transportation Services

AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia (DC), a part of the AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies, is committed to providing members with access to quality health care and outstanding member services. Through a partnership with Lyft, AmeriHealth Caritas DC sought to improve access to healthcare by providing on-demand transportation service.


AmeriHealth Caritas DC has long recognized that access to affordable, convenient, and reliable transportation plays a crucial role in terms of member access to important preventive health services.  When it’s highly inconvenient to get to the doctor, members often put off care until situations become urgent, which often results in ambulance calls, emergency room (ER) visits, and hospital stays.

Like other MCOs, AmeriHealth’s traditional non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) options for Medicaid recipients in the Washington D.C. area required three- to five-day notice. These trips also tended to be longer than needed, mostly because 1) members had to be picked up well in advance of their appointments, and 2) drivers had to pick up and drop off multiple riders throughout the trip. Often times, this situation resulted in members having to give up a half-day of work or more just to go to the doctor.

In November of 2017, AmeriHealth set out to address this situation by forming a relationship with Lyft to provide on-demand transportation services to AmeriHealth Caritas DC members.  Today, as part of this relationship, AmeriHealth uses Lyft in two ways.  AmeriHealth members can call into the AmeriHealth Caritas DC Community Outreach Solutions Team which can book rides directly for members through the Lyft Concierge online portal. Rides booked through this channel are focused on transportation to and from plan sponsored health promotion programs, health education classes, and related valued-added services. And when members want to schedule rides for medical services, they call the non-emergency transportation (NEMT) toll-free number on the back of their membership card, which connects them to AmeriHealth’s transportation broker, Access2Care. Access2Care has significant experience in the NEMT space and it has extensive experience in working with Lyft, booking services through their customized Lyft portal.

Preliminary analysis revealed a significant reduction inpatient stays, ER admissions, and emergency ambulance transportation utilization for those members taking Lyft trips during the initial launch of the Lyft program. These findings were based upon examining claims data six (6) months prior to a member’s first Lyft trip and claims data for that same member six (6) months after their first Lyft trip.  Furthermore, the program has been correlated with a significant positive impact on the plan’s HEDIS results. The plan found that members using Lyft had higher compliance scores on thirty-two (32) of forty-two (42) or seventy-six percent (76%) of the measures and the members using Lyft had a statistically significant higher compliance score for nineteen (19) or forty-five percent (45%) of the measures.  And Lyft users had a ninety-five percent (95%) compliance rate on the Adults Access to Care measure as compared to sixty-nine percent (69%) of all other eligible members and a ninety-six percent (96%) compliance rate on the Children and Adolescents Access to Care measure as compared to eighty-eight percent (88%) of all other eligible members.