FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Tarrant County Emergency Services is teaming up with a popular ride-hailing service to help people in need with transportation for non-emergency medical care.
MedStar and Lyft are partnering up to help injured people who need a ride to a clinic or doctors office, but who may not necessarily need to go to a hospital.
“Those calls could be for complaints such as abdominal pains for extended periods of time, or an ankle injury, or minor wounds,” explained MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky.
When dealing with a non-emergency situation, the person needing transportation would call 911 and speak to both dispatch and a triage nurse. The experts would identify what level of pain the person is in and then determine what kind of care tis needed.
Zavadsky said, “The patient is then offered the opportunity to go to a clinic, their own doctor, [or] wherever they need to go for their care. If they need transportation, then we arrange it with Lyft. We call them from our dispatch center and they send their driver to the patient’s location.”
Instead of dispatching EMTs or an ambulance, MedStar would pay for the patient’s Lyft ride to the clinic or doctor’s office as well as their ride back home.
Zavadsky explained that the service is to help sick people help themselves. “In some cases the patient does not has access to transportation and that has become a major barrier for [their] primary healthcare. We wanted this customer service to help get people where they need to be for their health.”
When MedStar contacts Lyft the driver is always told that they’ll be transporting an injured person. “We tell them where the patient is being taken and picked up from,” Zavadsky said. “It just lets them know what kind of a rider they’re picking up. And for some of them, it’s not even the strangest thing they see during their day.”