A rideshare service can help improve access to preventive care, reduce the strain on hospital emergency departments, and provide an improved overall healthcare experience for Medicaid beneficiaries, according to the reported findings of a new case study from Lyft.

The analysis looked at results from three Lyft healthcare partners: AmeriHealth Caritas DC, a Medicaid plan serving more than 100,000 residents in Washington, D.C.; Centene, serving underserved populations; and Amerigroup Tennessee.

Healthcare utilization

AmeriHealth, which has partnered with Lyft since 2017, evaluated the overall effects of Lyft transportation from April 2018 to April 2019 on 11,400 Medicaid members. AmeriHealth contracted with Access2Care, a non-emergency medical transportation manager. 

The partnerships improved access to primary care and reduced stress on emergency departments, finding:

  • A 40% decrease in emergency department utilization.
  • 15% decrease in low acuity non-emergent ED utilization.
  • 12% decrease in ambulance utilization.
  • 45% increase in compliance rate for 42 Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures.

“This data is a strong indicator that Lyft is helping to shift utilization from emergency services to primary care — a key driver of improved utilization and cost,” said Jerome Schorr, AmeriHealth director of quality management.

Member satisfaction

Beginning in 2018, Centene worked with its transportation managers to launch Lyft pilot programs at four subsidiary health plans: Buckeye Health Plan (Ohio), Sunshine Health Plan (Florida), Peach State Health Plan (Georgia) and Superior Health Plan (Texas). 

Centene reported a “significantly improved member satisfaction and increased appointment adherence.” Results-to-date:

  • 66% decrease in member-rider complaints.
  • 99% on-time arrival rate.
  • 85% of rides receive 5 out of 5 stars.
  • 1-star ratings dropped from 10% to 1%.
  • Average wait time decreased from 28 minutes for a traditional non-emergency medical transportation ride to just seven minutes for Lyft.

“Transportation is usually the first and last touchpoint for a consumer accessing care and has a big impact on how they engage with the healthcare system,” said Shea Long, Centene vice president of innovation. “When rides aren’t convenient or reliable, it often results in delayed care and a disjointed member experience.”

Access to primary care

Amerigroup Tennessee, an Anthem company, partnered with Lyft in 2019 to improve access to care for its members. The health started with a 12-month pilot in Memphis, moving to scale the service statewide. Results-to-date:

  • 50% decrease in primary care gaps.
  • 44% increase in primary care physician visits.
  • 90% decrease in transpiration-related grievances.
  • 92% of rides receive 5 out of 5 stars.

“Lyft has actually made it easier for our members to access primary care,” said Robert Garnett, president of Amerigroup Tennessee. “Before, when someone wasn’t feeling well and had to schedule a ride three days in advance, that delay in seeking care meant they may end up in an emergency room or urgent care as a result. We’ve made it easier and faster for members to meet with their doctors and ultimately stay healthy.”

The road ahead

In the case study, Lyft said that data demonstrate that the company “can play a significant role helping communities live healthier lives.” Access to reliable transportation, the company said, is even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing a link to routine care to avoid health deterioration and costly treatments that could have been avoided.

Lyft has done pilot studies with senior living providers in the past, including a study with the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, a rollout to senior living communities with Cubigo, a partnership with GrandPad, and a pilot with Erickson Living.