SPECIAL BULLETIN COVID-19 #175: Updated Guidance for Non-Emergency Medical Transportation
This is an update to SPECIAL BULLETIN COVID-19 #31 regarding Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT).
Recommendations for NEMT Vendors
- The best protection against COVID-19 is a vaccine. NC Medicaid strongly recommends that all employers direct employees to information and encourage them to get vaccinated. It is strongly recommended that businesses:
- Require employees to report vaccination status
- Require employees who are unvaccinated, or do not disclose vaccine status, to participate in screening/testing programs.
- Transportation providers and passengers should wear a mask at all times when in close contact and inside the vehicle (because they would be in an area of high transmission).
- Actively encourage sick drivers to stay home.
- Encourage the use of and provide assistance in acquiring hand sanitizer and disposable wipes and cleaning products so that commonly touched vehicle surfaces can be wiped down by drivers.
- Develop policies and technology options that allow and prioritize contactless transactions that limit or eliminate close contact and the sharing of items such as pens and electronic signature pads between drivers and passengers.
Recommendations for NEMT Drivers
Stay home if you are sick
- If you develop a fever, or symptoms such as a cough or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider for medical advice and guidance before visiting their office.
- You should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, after talking with your doctor or nurse.
Wear a mask
- Effective Feb. 2, 2021, masks are required on planes, buses, trains, taxis, rideshares, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
- Masks may prevent people who don’t know they have the virus from transmitting it to others.
- Avoid close contact with others.
- Keep a distance of at least six feet from passengers when you are outside of the vehicle.
- Ask that passengers sit six feet from the driver when transporting passengers in larger vehicles such as vans and buses, or sit in the back seat of smaller vehicles.
- If you work for a company that offers a large fleet of vehicles, ask company management for a car with a partition between driver and passengers, if available.
- Avoid using the recirculated air option for the car’s ventilation during passenger transport; use the car’s vents to bring in fresh outside air and/or lower the vehicle windows.
- Avoid contact with surfaces frequently touched by passengers or other drivers, such as door frame/handles, windows, seatbelt buckles, steering wheel, gearshift, signaling levers, and other vehicle parts before cleaning and disinfection.
Clean and disinfect
- Get and carry cleaning and disinfectant sprays or disposable wipes and disposal trash bags with you in your vehicle.
- Follow the directions on the cleaning product’s label.
- If surfaces are visibly dirty, they should be cleaned with detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in the vehicle at the beginning and end of each shift, and between transporting passengers.
- Appropriate disinfectants for hard or non-porous surfaces include:
- EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for COVID-19
Practice everyday preventative actions
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Proper hand hygiene is an important infection control measure. Keep in mind where you can access and use facilities with soap and water during your shift. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Key times to clean hands include:
- Before, during and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after using the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing and sneezing
- Additional times on the job to clean hands include:
- Before and after shifts
- Before and after breaks
- After handling passengers’ personal belongings, if unavoidable
- Between rides and after handling/exchanging money
- After putting on, touching or removing masks
- Before wearing and after removing cold-weather gloves
- Before and after pumping gas
- Carry tissues in your vehicle to use when you cough, sneeze or touch your face. Throw used tissues in the trash.
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