Primary Care Uber Update: Smart Phone Not Required

Thomas Breen photoDon’t have a smart phone, but need access to primary care? Uber will still pick you up.

Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) offered that peek at how transportation will work in its plan to close down three existing primary care services and relocate them to a consolidated facility on Long Wharf. The peek came in its latest update submission to the state as part of its bid to create the new facility.

On Thursday afternoon, Jeryl Topalian, YNHH’s director of strategy and planning, submitted responses to 10 questions that the state Office of Health Strategy (OHS) sent over at the end of December.

Those questions came in reference to the hospital’s transportation plan for getting new and existing patients who do not have cars to the New Haven Primary Care Consortium (NHPCC), a proposed new primary care facility to be located at 150 Sargent Dr. that the hospital plans to run with Fair Haven Community Health Care (FHCHC) and Cornell Scott Hill Health Center.

Transportation — especially in light of the failures of CT Transit bus system — emerged as a key concern in regulators’ consideration of the plan.

The hospital’s transportation plan states that the hospital will contract with the ride-share service Uber to help the carless portion of the roughly 25,000 patients who visit the hospital’s existing Downtown and Whitney Avenue primary care facilities each year get to the proposed new location on Long Wharf.

On Dec. 24, OHS staffers sent the hospital a list of 10 follow up questions about the hospital’s transportation plan, including whether or not eligible carless patients will need access to a smart phone in order to access the Uber transportation option.

In the hospital’s latest response, Topalian wrote that no, patients will not need a smart phone in order to access the rideshare service. Here are a few of the questions and answers provided in the hospital’s latest submission to the state.

Click here to download the full document from the hospital.

The state must decide on whether or not to approve the hospital’s Certificate of Need (CON) application to close its existing primary care facilities and relocate them to 150 Long Wharf within 60 days of the state’s of closing the hospital’s application. OHS Communications Director Juliet Manalan said that, if OHS Hearing Officer Michaela Mitchell has no further questions for YNHH after reviewing the hospital’s latest submission, then the state’s deadline for deciding on the proposal will be in early March.

State: Will patients utilizing the Uber ride share service need access to a smart phone to arrange transportation to and from appointments? ...

YNHH: Patients utilizing the Uber ride share service will not need access to a smart phone. Rides with the program will be initiated by Health Center staff, and scheduled centrally. Uber has a program called Uber Health, which utilizes a platform that is HIPAA compliant. When the patient calls to schedule a regular or urgent/emergent appointment at the Health Center, the ride-share service can be booked at the same time. Rides can be scheduled the same day, and up to 30 days in advance of the appointment. Upon completion of the appointment, Health Center staff will arrange the return trip. Trip confirmations can be sent via smart phone, but in the event the patient does not have a smart phone, or a phone at all, the Health Center staff will schedule the ride-share service during the patient’s visit for the next visit, the patient will leave knowing when their next ride is scheduled to arrive. All ride scheduling to and from appointments will be handled by the Health Center office staff.

State: Specify whether Medicaid patients will be eligible for the Uber ride share service
proposed by the Applicant.

YNHH: Yes, Medicaid patients will be eligible. The criteria for the ride share service will not be based on the insurance provider or financial status of the patient. ... Refinements to the [transportation] guidelines focus on the total time of the trip on public transportation, including transfers, as the priority criteria for eligibility, and is restated as: patients must live within 10 miles of 150 Sargent Drive, and where currently available public transportation requires a trip of 40 minutes or longer, including one or more transfers.

State: Indicate whether there is, or will be, a cap on the allocation of resources used to fund the Uber ride share service for patients.

YNHH: There has been no consideration of a cap. As part of the process for finalizing the transportation plan, the Applicant is working through contract details in discussions with Uber, based on projected utilization. In addition, the Applicant will consider other ride-sharing services, such as Lyft, and continued advocacy for more direct and more frequent bus routes which would reduce the number of patients eligible for ride-sharing services.

State: Excluding Veyo, list all available modes of transportation for patients requiring special transportation assistance

YNHH: UberASSIST is a program that has been successfully implemented in other parts of the country. This program provides extra assistance for patients with special transportation needs, including those with disabilities, seniors, and pregnant women. Drivers are required to take an online course and drive a vehicle that can accommodate an assistive device, such as a folding wheelchair or collapsible scooter. YNHH is currently in discussion with Uber to prioritize this program for the New Haven area, with the expectation that sufficient drivers will be recruited and trained during the ten month period prior to the opening of the new location at Sargent Drive. ...

In addition, the Greater New Haven Transit District (GNHTD) provides transportation services for individuals eligible for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) certification.

Coordinated Transportation Solutions (CTS) offers specialized transportation services for school-aged children through older adults throughout Connecticut. Other non-profits in and around New Haven offer medical transportation services for specific populations: cancer patients, ALS patients, HIV and AIDs patients, individuals receiving HUSKY D or Military Support Program services, patients with MS, senior citizens. A link to various transportation options can be found here:

Below are links to previous articles about the proposed New Haven Primary Care Consortium.

Primary Care Plan: Shuttle Out, Uber In
Farwell Questions Primary Care Move’s Impact On Poor
Primary Plan’s Obstacle: Broken Bus System
Plan Reimagines Primary Care For Poor
West River Questions Primary Care Move
Harp Backs Primary Care Move

Also below are Facebook Live videos of portions of Wednesday’s night’s public hearing, and of an interview earlier this year with Lagarde and Taylor on WNHH’s “Dateline New Haven.”



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posted by: wendy1 on January 7, 2019  9:08pm

Cab service in this town is beyond shitty.