Lyft is beta testing a program that will bring its services to New York City Medicaid patients who are in need of non-emergency rides to doctor’s appointments.
The National Medtrans Network arranges non-emergency medical transportation for people, like getting elderly patients to a checkup and a diabetic to their dialysis appointment.
Soon the agency will be able to book Lyft cars for its clients using Concierge, a new web-based dashboard designed by Lyft.
Lyft’s 12-person enterprise team is working to get a foothold in industries like hospitality, corporate travel and medicine.
This partnership is Lyft’s first step into the medical world and it’s a big bet. Every single year $3 billion in federal Medicaid money goes toward transportation.
Uber is also eying health care. It is working with a company in Asia to ferry patients to the doctor.
The has typically called livery cab companies to book rides. Cancellations, late cars and fraud are big problems with that service. Sometimes it can take as many as six phone calls to complete one booking.
Missing rides is a big problem for people on the way to the doctor. A 2005 study found that 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical appointments because of transportation issues.
“The more and more we dig into this space, the more we realize it’s a problem across the board,” said Amit Patel, Lyft’s
National Medtrans is already booking 2,500 of its 25,000 weekly rides in New York City through Lyft. It hopes to eventually switch to Lyft as its only provider.