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Babyscripts, Lyft partner on maternal health transportation


Photo: d3sign/Getty Images

Babyscripts, a virtual maternity care program for managing obstetrics, is collaborating with Lyft Healthcare to provide sponsored rides to and from doctor appointments for transportation-insecure maternity patients via Lyft Pass.

The collaboration is supported by grant funding awarded to Babyscripts by Lyft Healthcare, and will aid maternity patients in attending care appointments, regardless of risk, by connecting them to efficient and reliable transportation.

Rides will be available to pregnant and postpartum women receiving care through Babyscripts in select areas.

WHAT’S THE IMPACT

Within the offering, participating Babyscripts users will be prompted to complete a transportation security assessment within the Babyscripts mobile app to determine their access to adequate transportation. On identification of transportation risk, Babyscripts will provide qualifying patients with a discount code to cover the cost of rides with Lyft to and from their doctor appointments.

The company cited research published by the March of Dimes showing that access to affordable and reliable transportation can be a determining factor in maternal and infant health outcomes. Inadequate prenatal care, experienced by more than 15% of pregnant women, is associated with poor outcomes such as preterm birth and low birthweight, and can be an indicator of long term health problems for mother and child, the data showed.

Babyscripts described its maternity care program as engaging the pregnant or postpartum patient as an active member of their care team, with tools and resources that patients can access through a smartphone.

The patient can then self-identify risk through several modalities, including surveys, assessments, and remote patient monitoring. The risk stratification model activates targeted members of the care team to help manage those risks and direct the patient’s journey.

“Access is one of the biggest challenges to maternal health and infant health – and a patient’s outcomes can come down to whether or not they go to their doctor appointments,” said Anish Sebastian, CEO and co-founder of Babyscripts. “Some patients in low access areas need to take two or three buses to get to the doctor’s office – that’s half of their day gone to attend an appointment. Many just can’t take that amount of time off of work or find support for children at home, and they end up being forced to miss an appointment.”

THE LARGER TREND

Lyft Pass for Healthcare was launched in 2021. Through the program, eligible patients, health plan members and Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries can use the Lyft app to request rides to their medical appointments without cost. 

The program allows the sponsoring healthcare or social services organization to cover the cost of the rides. Sponsors are given control over the service by setting a total budget, a maximum cost per ride, the pickup and drop-off locations, and when the pass can be used.

Sponsoring organizations covering the ride issue Lyft passes to their riders for use when they request a ride. Lyft then provides the organizations with reports on usage and spending.

The need for transportation extends to clinic workers as well. In 2020, nonprofit healthcare network Sutter Health collaborated with Lyft to help home health providers travel to and from patient homes.

A 2018 study from Penn Medicine researchers published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that offering Medicaid patients with a free Lyft ride did not reduce the rate of missed appointments. According to the study, the rate of missed appointments for those offered a free Lyft ride and those not offered a ride was about the same – 36.5% and 36.7%, respectively.

Jeff Lagasse is editor of Healthcare Finance News.
Email: jlagasse@himss.org
Healthcare Finance News is a HIMSS Media publication.



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