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Medic rideshare program enables some patients to go to hospital via Lyft instead of ambulance

Medic says they’re looking to expand, potentially offering this service through Uber as well.
Medic says they’re looking to expand, potentially offering this service through Uber as well.
Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 7:13 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - If you have a non-life-threatening emergency and need to go to the hospital, you may be able to take a Lyft instead of an ambulance.

The benefit?

Lower cost - and Mecklenburg EMS Agency (Medic) says it enables them to take care of the sickest patients.

It could be a life or death situation. You call 911, and an ambulance is dispatched. But sometimes, other steps are taken.

“If you are determined to be a low acuity patient with minor symptoms, we may transfer you over to our nurse advice line who will do a secondary triage of your symptoms,” said Mecklenburg EMS Agency’s Matt Lewis.

In non-life-threatening situations, if transport is needed, the 911 operator can schedule a Lyft for the patient to go to the hospital.

Medic says they’re doing this program due to an increase in calls and staffing challenges.

Related: Mecklenburg EMS requests federal assistance with ambulance strike teams due to COVID-19 surge

“Utilizing Lyft allows us to decrease workload by transferring patients that don’t require an ambulance over to a much more cost effective solution,” said Lewis.

The rides are $15 on average and covered by Medic. Medic says, any Lyft driver can participate.

Rafael Diaz has been a rideshare driver for five years. In that time, he’s made a few trips to the hospital.

“I feel good, because I help,” said Diaz.

The hope is that through this program, Medic can provide more help to more people.

The program was implemented in October 2021. Since then, there have already been 175 transports via Lyft.

Related: ‘Health care hiring frenzy’: Working to improve staff shortages, meet demand ahead of flu season

“Whenever we are utilizing this process, it allows us to stay available for those higher acuity patients,” said Lewis.

Other agencies have reached out to Medic about this program, so interest is growing. Medic says they’re looking to expand, potentially offering this service through Uber as well.

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