Buffalo ACO launches pilot program with Lyft

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The Greater Buffalo (N.Y.) United Accountable Care Organization partnered with Lyft to make healthcare more efficient and less expensive for "top utilizers" of its emergency room services, WBFO reports.

Roughly 30 patients, which the ACO refers to as "top utilizers," use emergency rooms and in-patient care centers more than the organization's other 10,000 patients, CEO Raul Vazquez, MD, told WBFO.

Under the month-long pilot program, the 30 patients will be assigned to a care navigator, who will connect with both the patient and their primary care provider to assess what services are necessary at a given time. The navigator will then direct the patient to an urgent care center, after-hours primary care provider or other service via Lyft.

"What we're trying to do is divert the patient from going to the emergency rooms, which — a lot of times — they're there for the wrong reasons," Dr. Vazquez told WBFO. "But these patients, because of the social determinants of health, really never had transportation after hours or at times when they get sick."

Once the pilot program ends, the ACO anticipates expanding the Lyft partnership to support other patients in need of transportation to primary care services, such as vaccinations or screenings.

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