More than just a ride: Inland Empire Health Plan welcomes Call The Car as its transportation broker

Health Care and Community News

For Immediate Release 

Source: IEHP


Contact: Inland Empire Health Plan 

Kristina Hernandez, Media & Public Relations Strategist

909-552-0509 | kristina.hernandez@iehp.org

Imagine you need to get to an important medical appointment. Now imagine you have no way of getting from Point A to Point B.


For many Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) members, lack of transportation may prevent them from receiving essential services.


To improve members’ experience, IEHP’s Transportation Services department has added a fleet of newly branded vehicles through a recently launched vendor partnership with Call the Car, a Pasadena-based, non-emergency medical transportation company.


“IEHP’s top priority is ensuring our members have access to quality health care – which means removing barriers to access whenever and wherever we can,” said Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP’s chief executive officer. “We are proud to offer transportation services 24/7 so our members never have to worry about missing their doctor appointments or treatments.”


Transportation is a covered Medi-Cal benefit, with services available for medical, dental, mental health or substance use disorder appointments, and to pick up prescriptions and medical supplies. There are two types of transportation available: Non-emergency medical transportation–or NEMT–and non-medical transportation (NMT). NEMT is transportation by ambulance, wheelchair van or little van for those who cannot use public or private transportation, while NMT consists of transportation by private or public vehicle for those with no other way to get to-and-from their appointments.


IEHP’s Transportation Services is comprised of 90 team members covering 27,000 square miles in both Riverside and San Bernardino counties. For context, that’s an area larger than 11 states in our nation. Each year, the team handles 1 million trips – the equivalent of 4,000 to 5,000 trips a day.


In response to member dissatisfaction over its transportation services, the department launched a task force in May 2022 to improve the member experience. Since the launch of this task force, IEHP has:

  • Reduced grievances by 48%
  • Stabilized its call center to meet service levels
  • Implemented robust daily, weekly and monthly reporting methods

Call the Car provides services without limits from health care transportation to case management coordination and community-based partnerships. Its team of professionals are trained to ensure patient safety, and vehicles are housed with technologies to better serve driver and patient, including state-of-the-art GPS tracking, ADA accessibilities and AI technology that can detect accidents and if a driver needs a break. Vehicles can accommodate wheelchair and gurney needs, and drivers are trained to adapt to what every trip and passenger needs.


Call the Car Chief Financial Officer Paul Muench endorsed the partnership between the two entities as a great fit.


“The mission that IEHP works with is very similar to the mission that we are focused on, and we see it as a great opportunity to fill the need for members who have trouble accessing health care and we know a big part of that is transportation,” he said.


Dr. Michelle Tyson, the organization’s chief executive officer, agreed.


“Transportation is an integral part of ensuring that those who need it most have access to quality health care services,” she said. “Call the Car is excited to partner with Inland Empire Health Plan and wants to express our gratitude to the IEHP team for allowing us to continue our mission of providing reliable and safe transportation services to their members within the Inland Empire.


“Our CTC staff diligently work to ensure that all members are treated compassionately and are provided with the best possible resources to maintain crucial access to their IEHP health benefits, and we look forward to our continued collaboration with IEHP and their members for years to come,” she continued.


Both organizations plan to evolve their services in an ever-changing world of health care moving forward. For IEHP, next steps include:

  • Improving vendor oversight and partnerships within the community
  • Evaluating dispatch software and systems to ensure efficient practices and efficient status updates to members
  • Understanding root causes of issues and reducing transportation-related grievances by 20% by the end of 2023

About IEHP

With a mission to heal and inspire the human spirit, Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) is one of the top 10 largest Medicaid health plans, the largest not-for-profit Medicare-Medicaid public health plan in the country, and for the third year in a row, certified as A Great Place To Work®. In its 27th year, IEHP supports more than 1.6 million Riverside and San Bernardino County residents enrolled in Medicaid or IEHP DualChoice (those with both Medi-Cal and Medicare). Today, IEHP has a growing network of nearly 6,800 providers and more than 3,000 team members who are fully committed to the vision: We will not rest until our communities enjoy optimal care and vibrant health. To learn more, go to iehp.org.

About Call the Car

Call the Car was founded by a doctor and firefighter who believe non-emergency medical transportation is an extension of health care. Both wanted to create a transportation company to ensure members received the preventative care they deserve. Moreover, they felt transportation should be more than pickup and drop-off, it should be an avenue to empower members, caregivers and health plans to achieve better outcomes. The team started with off-duty firefighters and paramedics with a concept of door-through-door customer service. This quickly evolved into a unique model that informs case managers, dialysis centers and physicians as to the status of their patients in real time. Today, Call the Car continues to evolve with the ever-changing health care needs. To learn more, go to callthecar.com.