RoutingBox Friday Recap: What You Need to Know When Buying Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles
RoutingBox Friday live was on the road this week visiting with the commercial sales consultant of MobilityWorks, April Wagner-Volkosh. MobilityWorks is a nationwide dealer that works with wheelchair accessible ambulette vehicles. Many NEMT providers are curious about best practices when buying these types of ambulette vehicles, so it’s important to take a thorough dive into your options. One of the things that makes MobilityWorks unique is that they have DOT certified ambulette vehicles in stock on their very own lot. Your organization is required by NYS to assure all your vehicles are DOT certified, but getting this certification may take time that you don’t have to spare. Aside from MobilityWorks, most dealers you go through to get your vehicles would have to order them which means you would be waiting weeks, sometimes months to get your vehicles.
At the start of the tour of the MobilityWorks lot, April stressed the importance of looking into all your vehicle options and exactly what you need to look for when purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle. She goes on to explain that medical transportation services need to be DOT (Department of Transportation) certified. The NYSDOT is the organization that grants NEMT providers the authority to operate within a specific geographic location. NYSDOT has stringent requirements for ambulette transportation. This is especially important because not all NEMT providers understand the DOT certification process and requirements. If the NEMT provider is found guilty of violating the DOT laws, they could face fines or have their operating authority revoked. Many organizations face negative consequences because their vehicles don’t meet the DOT requirements.
Some providers may go to an auction and purchase a vehicle that has a lift but does not satisfy the DOT standards. For example, ambulette vehicles are required to display the exact name of the operator, as well as their unique ID on each side of the vehicle in a font that’s at least 3 inches high. In the case of multiple drivers, this information is still required, but must be in the form of a removable sign or letters. This is easily overlooked along with multiple other requirements.
What can you expect from a DOT certified vehicle?
- Ambulette vehicles transporting Medicaid patients must be inspected by the NYSDOT twice a year
- Appropriate documentation must be kept on file and up to date for ambulette vehicles
- Each vehicle must have a valid registration and proof of inspection
- Rear entry/ side entry, (i.e. where the lift is located)
- NEMT providers with more than one driver are required to have their drivers complete a pre and post trip inspection
Ideal ambulette vehicle checklist based on NYSDOT inspection requirements:
- Service brakes
- Parking brake
- Steering mechanism
- Lighting devices and reflectors
- Windshield wipers
- Wheels and rims
- Emergency equipment
As your patients’ needs change and differ, your vehicles must evolve to accommodate them. The requirements for these ambulette vehicles are different for every trip, depending on what services you need to provide during that specific time. Providing your drivers with the vehicle flexibility they need is a crucial part of your success. Obtaining vehicles that satisfy the ever-evolving NEMT vehicle requirements will protect your organization.
If you’re interested in learning more about the available DOT certified ambulette vehicles, visit MobilityWorks.
3560 Sheridan Dr, Buffalo, NY 14226