Lyft expanding its reach in healthcare with CommonSpirit Health partnership

Lyft is teaming up with CommonSpirit Health and LogistiCare Circulation, one of the nation’s largest Medicaid transportation brokers, to roll out transportation services to patients in California and Arizona.

Chicago-based Catholic hospital giant CommonSpirit, which serves patients in 21 states, said it expects to expand transportation services from Lyft and LogistiCare Circulation to serve patients in its other markets in 2020.

CommonSpirit was formed last year from the merger between Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) and Dignity Health.

This service will enable patients to access rides when they are discharged from CommonSpirit’s medical facilities in several states, including California and Arizona. CommonSpirit’s social workers, case managers, and other medical staff request and monitor the progress of rides to make sure patients get to their destination, the health system said.

 "When our patients aren’t feeling well, the entirety of their interaction with our system—from their provider visit to discharge to their door—affects their experience," Christine Brocato, system vice president for strategic innovation at CommonSpirit Health, said.

RELATED: 5 more Medicaid programs sign on with Lyft for nonemergency transport  

”With Lyft’s proven technology, broad geographic footprint, and passion to help promote health equity among CommonSpirit’s varied populations, we can achieve our shared goal to address the social determinants of health by removing transportation barriers that affect people’s ability to receive care," Brocato said.

Both Lyft and its main competitor Uber have made a strong push into the healthcare space, bolstered by data that suggest patients are already using these platforms regularly to get to doctors' appointments and other nonemergency care. 

National statistics also show 3.6 million patients miss follow-up doctor visits each year due to lack of transportation. For example, a Rand Corp. study found 20% of older adults—especially those with chronic illnesses—do not drive and one-third face driving restrictions.

"Reliable transportation is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to making sure everyone has access to comprehensive health care and is core to the work we're doing here at Lyft," Megan Callahan, VP of Healthcare at Lyft said. "We’ve been impressed by CommonSpirit Health and LogistiCare Circulation’s commitment to providing an exceptional patient experience and are excited to extend that by providing a convenient and dependable transportation option to and from care delivery settings as well."

RELATED: Sutter Health to offer patients, staffers individualized transportation options through Lyft 

Earlier this month, California-based health system Sutter Health announced it was partnering with Lyft to offer a variety of new transportation options. That partnership would offer, for example, a rural clinic the option to assist patients with rides to and from appointments or cover transport to and from public transit to help workers avoid parking fees in urban areas.

Lyft also has expanded its reach in Medicaid, with Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia and Missouri now covering eligible nonemergency medical transport (NEMT) rides through Lyft's platform, reaching 9 million additional people.

CommonSpirit and Lyft have also agreed to create a task force, which will collaborate with LogistiCare Circulation, to co-develop and test new uses for transportation to meet patients' needs for healthcare services.