The requirements to become a NEMT driver in the United States varies from one state to another, especially since each state has specific qualifications for non-emergency medical transport drivers. Non-emergency medical transportation drivers have very challenging but rewarding jobs.
Every day, they transport people who can barely move or transport themselves to and from important medical appointments. Becoming a driver for a NEMT business is a great career path especially for individuals who are very passionate about helping others; however, the job comes with its own challenges.
NEMT drivers always deal with vulnerable, sometimes elderly and/or disabled passengers who need to be cared for and transported with care. Note that once a driver lacks proper training, they also lack the necessary knowledge and experience to respond in a potential emergency situation.
While NEMT is primarily meant for non-emergency situations, it still doesn’t mean an emergency wouldn’t come up. Owing to that, it is always recommended that NEMT drivers are duly trained, well prepared for emergencies, and also carry out regular training sessions to stay current and efficient.
Note that aside from the necessary qualifications needed, NEMT drivers are expected to have certain qualities that will ensure they enjoy their work rather than endure it. For instance, patience is imperative to keep them going even with the challenges of tight schedules and dealing with clients whom they are expected to assist. NEMT drivers are also expected to be respectful and humble.
Necessary Requirements to Become a NEMT Driver
Truth be told, becoming a NEMT driver is a lucrative career for individuals looking to help others. Note that these drivers can work both full-time and part-time and can equally experience flexible hours, depending on where they’re located. If you’re eager to become a NEMT driver, here are the requirements and qualifications you are expected to meet.
Valid Driver’s License And Clean Record
To become a NEMT driver in the United States, you’ll need a valid driver’s license. You will also be expected to have a clean record.
While one or two speeding tickets may not limit your ability to land a job as a NEMT driver, but if you are up against another driver with a very clean record, the job will surely go to the other driver. Note that anything beyond a few minor offenses will genuinely rule you out of landing this job.
Although industry experience may not really be necessary, but it can be quite helpful. Note that if you’ve worked as a driver for a company before, even if it was a ridesharing or limo company, you still have experience in the industry.
Howbeit, NEMT is an entirely different industry and will most often require a more extensive level of attention and care. Therefore, if you have experience working in the healthcare industry, specifically at a hands-on level with patients, you will stand a better chance when the time comes to submit your application and land the job.
Excellent Customer Service Skills
As a NEMT driver, you will be expected to have top-notch customer service skills. Have it in mind that NEMT drivers are expected to be patient, understanding, and willing to seek solutions to every problem.
Just like it was noted above, a good percentage of your passengers will be the elderly and/or have physical or cognitive disabilities that will need extra attention, therefore drivers have to be prepared to handle any possible situations that might come up.
Basic Training Requirements for NEMT Drivers
Without doubts, adequate training is imperative at any job. Note that extensive training ensures that employees grow their skillset and eventually become more qualified for their position. Here are the basic training requirements for NEMT drivers in the United States;
Vehicle and Device Safety
In this line of business, the whole NEMT team is expected to understand how to properly use wheelchair lifts, ramps, seatbelts, wheelchair, gurney security straps, and anything else that the vehicles are designed with. Drivers will also need to learn how to properly and safely move a wheelchair, gurney, and stretcher while the passenger is secured in the device.
NEMT vehicles are always on the road, therefore regular safety checks are necessary to ensure the vehicle or fleet stays sound. Drivers need to learn how to steadily check the lights, mirrors, seats, odometer, wheelchairs and every other thing in the vehicle.
For NEMT businesses, leveraging trip scheduling software remains a sure way to make sure drivers complete pre and post-trip checklists every day. Note that this will enable the business to catch any problems early on.
State rules and Regulations
Truth be told, the specific rules and regulations a NEMT provider is expected to follow will vary depending on the state they run the business in.
Have it in mind that this includes vehicle requirements, necessary driver training, and the way trips are billed and reimbursed. For businesses just getting started, your state or local Medicaid agencies should be the perfect source of information and directions.
Customer Service Training
It is very important to note that customer service remains a vital part of being a NEMT driver, therefore a good number of NEMT businesses offer best practice customer service refreshers every month or two to their team. This offers the team time to discuss the numerous ways each individual should work toward the best trip experience.
First aid and CPR Training
For NEMT providers, it is always recommended that drivers are CPR certified and trained on how to react in an emergency situation, especially since it can make all the difference. If your drivers understand best practices and how to effectively respond if a patient is experiencing a medical emergency, it means they can effectively keep the patient as calm as possible while waiting for further help to arrive.
Note that most NEMT drivers haven’t been in an accident before, but accidents can happen to anyone and it is very necessary to get your team prepared on how to respond should one occur.
For NEMT Providers, once you hire a new driver, it is imperative they get briefed on accident protocol—would you prefer a detailed report is filled out, or should the driver take pictures of any damage? It is critical for your drivers to understand this upfront, but it is also a good idea to have this protocol written in an employee handbook.
Inclement Weather and Bad Traffic
No one can accurately predict the weather or the traffic patterns NEMT drivers might face each day, but if you use non-emergency medical transportation scheduling software, your dispatchers can adjust and re-route if they see a route with less traffic or weather clearing in a different direction.
However, while you can’t always avoid these events, being adequately prepared for anything makes for better driving decisions.
Businesses offering non-emergency transportation services tend to need qualified drivers to transport people to their destinations.
The primary role of the driver is to ensure his passengers reach their destinations safely. Since passengers’ safety remains the number one priority, it is necessary for NEMT Providers to always conduct regular safety training so they can carry out the safest trips possible.