During her 29 years working at a rehab and nursing facility, Rebecca Kilsdonk watched helplessly as countless patients missed health care appointments because they had no medical transportation.
In 2014, she moved to solve that problem.
Kilsdonk bought a van and started CBR Transport to provide non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) in and around rural Steuben County, New York. Like many transportation providers, Kilsdonk wanted to help end long waits for rides, forgotten pickups and patients getting stranded at medical offices.
“It would break her heart to see people miss their appointments because they had no transportation,” says Steph Kilsdonk, Rebecca’s niece, office manager and right-hand woman.
That feeling is common in the medical transportation industry, where providers like CBR help Medicaid clients and others get to and from appointments.
For years, however, these same providers had to deal with billing systems that were highly manual and error-prone — and on different billing platforms. The maze of work often led to rejected claims and delayed payments for small businesses already operating on very thin margins.
To solve these problems and make life easier for NEMT companies, Kinetik developed NEMT-focused technology to centralize, automate and streamline medical billing. With Kinetik, transportation providers can save money and easily manage claims and billing. They get real-time updates and can see everything at a glance. Kinetik also provides direct billing connections to more than 3,100 payors.
The company’s tools have all but ended billing mistakes, while improving day-to-day operations for brokers, managed care organizations and providers such as CBR.
Before Kinetik, CBR, which now has 12 vehicles and about 16 drivers, split its medical transportation billing between two employees who ran two different platforms. But when the woman who handled insurance billing retired in 2020, Steph Kilsdonk added insurance-related medical billing to the Medicaid claims she already was processing. The added work — on top of managing operations, human resources, information technology and the garage that maintains vehicles — had Steph paddling as fast as she could.
“It was a lot of extra work, extra steps,” Steph Kilsdonk says. “And then the other platform (for NEMT billing of insurers) doubled in price just as demand plummeted due to Covid. I knew we needed a change.”
That’s when Kinetik entered the picture.
Just as Steph’s new workload was taking its toll, a Kinetik representative reached out to explain its best-in-class NEMT billing services, which now process more than 10 million rides a year across the country.
“I said, ‘Wait a minute. You can bill Medicaid and the other insurers through your one platform?!’ And it was a fourth of the cost of the other two platforms combined,” Steph Kilsdonk recalls. “I don’t have to use two different portals, checking them constantly, getting remittances and handling the physical paperwork in the end.
“Kinetik really saved me, because I was starting to feel overwhelmed.”
Steph began using the NEMT revenue cycle management (RCM) technology in December 2020 after being trained by her Kinetik customer representative. “I was nervous and scared about making this transition, but the Kinetik team made it so smooth,” she says.
In addition to the 30 to 90 minutes she saves daily on non-emergency medical transportation billing, Steph Kilsdonk receives payments much faster and rarely has a claim kicked back.
“It takes about half the time I spent using two portals, and we saved a huge amount of money, a phenomenal amount,” she says. “It’s (rare) if we have a denied claim, and it’s usually a glitch within the Medicaid system.”
Kinetik also streamlines claims corrections, a time-consuming process made worse by requirements that they must be submitted on paper. “With Kinetik I can see the entire form (on the computer), and when I submit a correction on the platform, I know it will be resubmitted in the format that is acceptable.”
Through Kinetik’s API (application programming interface) solutions, vendor partners that offer dispatching and geotracking soon will be added to CBR’s toolkit, saving more time and money. With streamlined dispatching and the ability to track and reroute vehicles for last-minute changes, service will continue to improve and expand to help even more people, Steph Kilsdonk says.
“There are so many very rural residents who can’t afford to own a vehicle and wouldn’t get health care if they didn’t have this transportation available to them,” she says.
Being more efficient, saving money and getting personalized support from Kinetik allows Steph, her Aunt Rebecca and everyone in the company to spend more time on their mission of providing non-emergency medical transportation to their community.
“We are such a rural area with such a great need,” she says. “It’s really satisfying when you can help someone get to their appointments when they have no other options.”