Updated June 25, 2020:

Medical transportation contracts are a vital component if you wish to start a business in the medical assistance field. Growth within the healthcare industry gives entrepreneurs an opportunity in non-medical emergency medical transportation (NEMT). Nonemergency transportation providers are companies that give travel services to recipients of Medicaid.

First, you need to meet several criteria from the Department of Transportation (DOT) in order to start a non-emergency transport business. The Medicaid program is funded through federal and state funds, but the program itself is managed by the states.

Ironically, it’s a service that few people consider when beginning a business, and it is a good market niche to get into. Non-emergency medical transportation primarily deals with transporting the disabled and elderly. Further, you will transport people who need some type help, and this field possesses greater demand than taxicab services. The business mainly transports the following:

  • People in wheelchairs
  • People in stretchers
  • People who are considered ambulatory

Ambulatory means a person walks, but moves slower due to disability or age. Such a person may walk using a cane or walker. It’s worth noting that this service does not move people on life support, but mainly moving people to medical appointments or wherever the elderly, sick, or disabled need to go.

Planning Your Business

An independent operator is a start-up operating his or her own operation, and it comes with a variety of benefits. When running your own NEMT business, you must do the following:

  • Set up your own schedule
  • Hire your own staff
  • Obtain contracts
  • Train employees

Further, you must choose a suitable location for the business. Keep demographics in mind by locating a spot where there is a large elderly population in the vicinity. From there, create a list that includes the following:

  • Hospitals
  • Daycare centers
  • Clinics
  • Retirement homes
  • Group homes
  • Dialysis centers

You may reach out to various facilities and ask representatives what kind of transport services they could use to enhance your business.


Additionally, you should also find out who your competition will be, and spot the strength and weaknesses of those who will be competing against you. Contact competitors, ask them proper questions, and read any information on their websites. In addition, conduct some research on their drivers and vehicles.

Getting Started

To get started, you must register in your respective state, but each state may have varying qualifications. You should call your local Department of Health and Human Services to know what qualifications you would need. After, register the name of your business and get a license in this area. Once registration is complete, you will get vehicles for your start-up.

The most common types of vans used include the following:

  • Raised doorways and roofs where clients can enter from rear or side
  • Hydraulic or manual lifts and securing devices for wheelchair clientele
  • Vans should accept ambulatory and wheelchair-bound clients

Finally, purchase dispatch software to dispatch and schedule transportation times.

Insuring your Business

You need an auto insurance policy for all of your vans, most notably a general liability policy to make sure all of your clients are covered in case an accident occurs. Insurance will also cover any damage done to your vehicles, including theft or traffic-related incidents. Additionally, you should get a worker compensation policy to safeguard your employees if they get injured in a work-related accident.

Payment Methods

The type of payment you’ll accept depends on the contract and clientele. For example, a business may invoice certain facilities monthly. If you have contracts with Medicaid or state-contracted groups, such facilities may require that you send them an invoice, and you would get a check from that facility on a monthly or weekly basis. Contact your DHHS to learn more about such requirements. Fees and prices are factored into your overall costs. When determining your fee structure, keep in mind the following expenses:

  • Staff
  • Vehicle fleet maintenance
  • Fuel

Business Hours

Hours of operation depends on your own preference and has its own set of benefits. Primarily, you want to operate during the busiest hours, roughly 5 days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays are also good busy times for your business.

  • Note: Your hours of operation will change as you gain additional vehicles and employees

As an owner, you’ll want to be able to manage and market your business.

To learn more about medical transportation contracts, submit your legal inquiry to our UpCounsel marketplace. UpCounsel’s top lawyers will help you in the start-up phase of your medical transportation business, including the necessary licenses you’ll need to operate in your state. Further, our lawyers will remain by your side as you operate and transition your start-up into a viable operation.