SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Sept. 18, 2019) – Blue Shield of California, in collaboration with the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Institute and Lyft, is launching an innovative pilot program for its eligible members in the Sacramento area to provide convenient rides – at no additional cost to members - to their doctors’ offices and healthcare locations. The name of the program is rideQSM, and this is the first time that this medical transportation program has been available in Sacramento.
More than 1,000 Blue Shield members with health maintenance organization (HMO) or preferred provider organization (PPO) health plans through their Sacramento-area employers are eligible for rideQSM at no additional cost. The pilot program provides non-emergency transportation services for eligible patients at Associated Family Physicians, Inc. of Hill Physicians who use their Elk Grove and Galt offices. Eligible destinations include primary care appointments, lab and radiology visits; pharmacy prescription rides will soon be added. The rideQSM program allows members to arrange their own Lyft rides to and from their medical appointments.
“Convenient, efficient transportation to and from medical appointments and lab tests is a big factor in contributing to a person’s overall health and well-being,” said Peter Long, senior vice president of Healthcare and Community Health Transformation, Blue Shield of California. “With the rideQSM pilot program, we can better address an issue that typically has been outside the standard resources of a health plan.”
To participate in the program, eligible Blue Shield members need a SMS capable mobile phone. Once they call to self-enroll online and agree to the program’s terms and conditions,
they can receive rideQSM rides to and from pre-approved healthcare appointments as patients of Associated Family Physicians, Inc.
“Caring for patients takes more than doctors, prescriptions, and lab tests,” said David Kosh, MD, Associated Family Physicians. “With this medical transportation program, Blue Shield is demonstrating that it understands – and acts – to take the extra steps required to meet the access to care needs of some populations.”
In 2018, the BCBS Institute launched rideQSM – a ride share program helping eligible members without access to reliable transportation get to and from their medical appointments and the pharmacy at no additional cost to them.
"We are proud to work together with Blue Shield of California and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute to reduce transportation access barriers for members in the Sacramento area through our pilot program," said Ameena Gill, Lyft regional director of Operations, Northern California. "This new collaboration will provide eligible members with convenient and reliable rides to fill an existing gap in getting to and from medical appointments."
The Lyft ride service is part of a nationwide collaboration the company has with the BCBS Institute to provide non-emergency medical transportation for eligible health-plan members around the country to doctors’ appointments, lab-test offices, radiology facilities and other approved healthcare appointments as necessary.
Blue Shield’s Sacramento rideQSM pilot program is scheduled to run for 12 months. Future expansion plans for this service in California will be made after results of the program are analyzed.
About Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California strives to create a health care system worthy of its family and friends that is sustainably affordable. It is a not-for-profit, independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association with 4 million members, 6,800 employees and more than $20 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 and headquartered in San Francisco, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare health care service plans in California. The company has contributed more than $500 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation since 2002 to have an impact on California communities.
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About Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute
The BCBS Institute, an Illinois benefit corporation, is a subsidiary and independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. The rideQSM name is a trademark of BCBSA. All rideQSM transportation services are provided by independent third-party providers. BCBS Institute, BCBSA and Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield Plans do not provide transportation services, or warrant or guarantee any program, product or service provided by any third-party provider in connection with rideQSM BCBS Institute, BCBSA and Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield Plans are not responsible for damages or injuries arising from or related to such third-party provided programs, products or services. Terms and conditions for rideQSM are found at https://www.bcbs.com/institute/member-terms-conditions
Lyft was founded in 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation, and is available to 95 percent of the United States population as well as select cities in Canada. Lyft is committed to effecting positive change for our cities by offsetting carbon emissions from all rides, and by promoting transportation equity through shared rides, bikeshare systems, electric scooters, and public transit partnerships.