An unintended consequence of medical escort rules

Requiring the name and phone number of the individual responsible for picking a patient up and transporting them home after a procedure involving anesthetics has been routine safety practice for years — but can it be more of a burden than a benefit?

Medical escorts often are required even for procedures that use local anesthetics that do not affect mental capacity — such as the removal of small skin cancers and cataracts, according to a March 25 report from The New York Times. But medical escort services often are not covered by insurance payers, which can leave older Americans scrambling to find someone to assist them or putting off procedures indefinitely. 

Although cabs and services such as Uber and Lyft can transport patients from point A to point B, they become next to useless in cases like these because patients requiring medical escorts need to be seen door through door rather than door to door, the report said. 

Alternative solutions may be found through local nonprofits or home-care companies, but even then sometimes there is no availability when patients may need it, or because of short staffing issues, home-care companies may not agree to a one-time gig of a staff member accompanying a patient. 

Talking with a physician about alternatives that may not require a medical escort is also an option, the report said.

One patient, Robert Lewinger, who is in need of several procedures requiring medical escort accompaniment, told The New York Times this responsibility should not be up to patients to figure out.

"He wishes Medicare and medical practices would simplify this process. After all, the costs of treating cancer, or injuries when a person with poor eyesight falls, would far exceed the expenses for door-through-door transportation," the Times report read. "He envisions 'just a straightforward 'Call this number and they’ll arrange it.'"

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars