Protecting Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Drivers While On the Job

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) drivers make dozens of trips on a weekly basis, taking patients to hospitals and other outpatient healthcare facilities. Patients with chronic illnesses and disabilities often rely on these drivers to get them to these facilities and back home. While on the job, these drivers face a number of exposures that could result in injuries, including hurting their backs while assisting a patient, or being involved in a vehicular accident as they perform their duties.

An important component of the insurance mix to protect NEMT drivers while on the job is Workers’ Compensation insurance, providing the benefits they’re entitled to as employees, including compensation for hospital bills and lost income. It’s not only mandatory in most states to cover employees but also subcontractors if the home health care provider hires them to drive. A subcontractor may be considered an employee of the insured if he/she:

  • Must comply with specific work instructions imposed by the employer;
  • Receives training at the direction of the employer;
  • Provides services on a personal basis; works specific hours set by the employer; works full time for a single employer; and
  • Receives hourly/weekly/monthly payment in lieu of by the job.

As most subcontractors meet these criteria, an employer can be considered legally liable for any injuries, expenses, or damages suffered by a subcontractor. To mitigate these risks it is best that employers obtain Workers’ Compensation for all their employees, including subcontractors.

In addition to providing coverage, a robust risk management program should be in place to help mitigate on-the-job injuries and accidents. Drivers in this line of work typically go through advanced training in driving, however, factors such as fatigue or other types of distractions can cause even experienced drivers to momentarily lose their focus on safe practices, resulting in an accident. A NEMT Fleet Safety Program should be in place that includes:

  • Clear communication outlining the purpose and importance of safe transportation policies and procedures
  • Documentation of the action that management will take to ensure policies and procedures are understood and followed
  • A requirement that all employees, including managers, are expected to observe safety practices
  • A culture that recognizes management commitment as the measure of organizational commitment to safety practices

Additionally, the insured should have strong driver hiring criteria and procedures; the ability to monitor and measure driver performance and motor vehicle records (MVRs); and a comprehensive set of vehicle inspection and repair procedures.

Manchester Specialty offers comprehensive insurance solutions for home health care providers, including Workers’ Compensation insurance solutions. For more information about how our products and services can help protect your insureds, please contact us at 855.972.9399.