Scheduling medical transportation can be difficult even for hospital staff who know the ins and outs of the process. When a patient is left to schedule their own transportation to a medical appointment, they’re likely to be overwhelmed by levels of service, medical necessity and coverage limitations, which could lead to a transport bill their insurer won’t cover and they can’t pay.
Luckily for a UCSF Medical Center patient living in the Central Valley, ProTransport-1’s Hannah Dominguez answered their call and went out of her way to set up a long-distance transport with a patient-friendly price tag. Hannah’s willingness to serve as an advocate for the patient and identify the best transport option exemplifies the ideals of ProTransport-1 customer service.
“Hannah obviously went above and beyond for this transport request,” said Chris Dey, ProTransport-1’s Operational Manager of Logistics and Utilization. “Instead of telling the patient, ‘Sorry, no, we don’t do that,’ she spoke with the patient’s insurance and multiple other providers to secure a level of service we don’t offer.”
The patient called ProTransport-1 looking for transportation from Riverbank, a town in Stanislaus County 100 miles from San Francisco, to UCSF for care. Having previously made the trek for specialized surgeries at a cost of $500 per trip, she was hoping to find a more affordable transport option, not knowing if she would have to foot the bill for ProTransport-1 service, or if her insurance could help cover the cost. Hannah, a PT-1 Call Taking Representative and member of the Documentation Assistance Team, was there to help the patient figure it all out.
The private cost of an ambulance transport from Riverbank to San Francisco was much too high for the patient to pay on her own. Rather than simply quoting the out-of-pocket cost to the patient, Hannah called the patient’s insurer to find out if it would help cover the cost of an ambulance transport. When the insurer declined to cover a ProTransport-1 trip as an out-of-network provider, Hannah kept up her search for an affordable transport option for the patient’s 200-mile roundtrip, but could not get a response from any of the in-network providers.
Knowing UCSF Medical Center is home to world-class medical specialists receiving patients from well outside the average hospital’s area of service, Hannah then reached out to the facility to discover a solution for the patient’s transport dilemma. UCSF staff alerted Hannah to a significantly more affordable non-medical chauffeur service, but realized it too was a cost-prohibitive option for the patient at hundreds of dollars per trip.
Rather than shifting attention from the transport seeker, Hannah continued her search for a reasonable transport option for the Riverbank patient. Eventually, Hannah’s commitment paid off when she found the StaRT Medivan, a Stanislaus Regional Transit service from Stanislaus County to Bay Area medical facilities of which neither the patient nor her home health provider were aware.
Thanks to Hannah’s efforts, a transport that could’ve cost $500-plus and caused much more distress for the patient as she struggled to identify the right transport option had a more than friendly final cost – $22 for the roundtrip transport plus $8 to be accompanied by an attendant.
Hannah reached out to the woman following the visit to UCSF and was pleased to find out the affordable transport was a success and had been scheduled for future trips.
Hannah went above and beyond for a person in need, showing the compassion and customer service on which ProTransport-1 prides itself. She deserves many thanks for a job impressively well done.