When it comes to choosing between ambulance services and non-emergency medical transportation (or NEMT), there are several factors to consider before making a decision. For one, ambulances are typically for medical emergencies requiring immediate attention and are often very costly as well. On the other hand, NEMT services are available for many different needs, whether that be medical transportation to and from a hospital for a check-up or visiting a friend’s home and running errands in town. 

Whatever the case, it is important to consider what your needs are first and then pick the service that is most suitable for you. With that in mind, here are some differences between ambulances and NEMT services that will help you determine which one may be best suited for you. 

When to Call an Ambulance?

If you are unsure when to call one service over the other, the answer is fairly simple. If you or a loved one is experiencing a medical emergency—such as a stroke, heart attack, or any life-threatening injury that demands immediate attention—that would be the time to dial 911 for an ambulance. 

These services offer quick and immediate transportation to the nearest available hospital and can use their sirens to tell other vehicles and commuters to move aside whenever necessary. Ambulances paramedics can provide first aid and care upon arrival and throughout transit as necessary. 

When to Hire Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)

With ambulances typically being for emergencies, you may be wondering how NEMT services can fill the gap in your medical transportation needs. Many patients and seniors require special care or equipment to travel and commute, even for simple tasks such as going to the grocery store or visiting their hospital for a routine check-up. Here are several scenarios where NEMT services may be suited to your needs:

  • You do not require emergency medical attention but cannot comfortably or safely ride in standard passenger vehicles and public transportation. 
  • You do not have access to free rides from family or friends but have an appointment you cannot miss
  • You currently have physical impairments that leave you bed-bound or require a stretcher or wheelchair to be moved 
  • You need to travel long distances for any reason and require some degree of medical attention or special equipment for the ride 
  • You require a special bariatric vehicle to reach your destination safely 
  • You require life-support devices or other special equipment to travel
  • You wish to travel for leisure but require a vehicle that can accommodate a wheelchair

These are just a few reasons why you may want to use NEMT services if you need medical transportation outside of an emergency. 

Costs Differences Between Ambulance and NEMT Services

Another important thing to keep in mind between the two types of services is the costs associated with them. In most cases, an ambulance ride with life support will cost an average of $600 or more and will go much higher depending on how much-specialized care you require. In larger cities, such as Los Angeles or New York, costs tend to run even higher, averaging about $1,000 per ride. 

By contrast, NEMT services tend to be more affordable than ambulance rides. Costs in many cities can be comparable to a taxi fare or using public transportation depending on the distance you need to travel. Longer distance NEMT services can be significantly more expensive, but the trade-off for the higher costs is dedicated crews that will ensure your safety and comfort during transit. 

Book Your Ride Today 

If you are looking to book a NEMT ride for travel, Stellar Transport offers quality, reliable, and safe transportation services for patients and seniors alike. To schedule a ride, contact Stellar Transport today!