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Transportation Options for Cataract Surgery

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Transportation Options for Cataract Surgery

You can’t drive yourself to or from cataract surgery. You’ll be under local anesthesia for your surgery, and your vision may be blurry immediately following the procedure. You need to ensure you have transportation set up ahead of time.

Many people have a family member or friend drive them to and from cataract surgery. If that isn’t an option, you can look into local organizations that transport people to medical appointments or companies that specialize in surgery transportation. 

Surgery centers and clinics may not release patients to taxis or ride-sharing options like Uber or Lyft due to the fact that patients may still be under the effects of anesthesia. If you’re unsure how to get home, talk to your surgery center about alternatives. Free transportation services to medical appointments are available to those on Medicaid.

Schedule Your Cataract Surgery in Advance

When you schedule cataract surgery, you’ll generally set it for a few weeks or months out. Most surgeons won’t have last-minute openings, so you’ll usually have plenty of time to set up transportation beforehand.

You’ll have plenty on your mind the day of surgery, so it’s well worth it to fully schedule your transportation ahead of time. Your surgeon’s office can be a good resource for transportation ideas as well.

Transportation Options for Eye Surgery

Here are some of the transportation options you can choose from to safely get you to and from cataract surgery:

Family & Friends

This first option is the most obvious and the one that most people employ for cataract surgery. If no one quickly comes to mind, consider asking a friend you haven’t seen in a while. You could take them to coffee or lunch prior to your appointment.

Taxi or Ridesharing 

Again, many surgery centers will not release patients to taxis or ridesharing services if they are sedated. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, surgical centers have an obligation to only release patients who have been under sedation to the care of a responsible adult.

Talk to your surgery center about their policy for this. If you have a friend or family member accompany you, this isn’t an issue, however.

Public Transportation

Public transportation, such as subways, trains, and buses, can be a reliable way to get to your surgery, provided you leave early enough to account for delays. But similar to the issue with taxis and ridesharing services, most surgical centers won’t release you from the center on your own. You’ll need a responsible adult with you due to the sedation you’ve been under for surgery.

Local Nonprofit Organizations or Churches

Many churches and nonprofit organizations offer free rides to and from medical appointments for community members. Call local community centers and churches to inquire about potential services.

Professional Surgery Transportation Services

Various companies, such as Amera, specialize in offering day-of surgery transportation to patients. These ambulatory day surgery transportation agencies feature professional caregivers who will sign you in and out of your cataract surgery appointment. In addition to driving you, they will help you get in and out of the vehicle safely, into and out of the surgical office, and settle you into your home after surgery. 

Low-Cost & Free Transportation Options

Churches and nonprofit organizations, described above, frequently offer transportation to and from medical appointments for free. In some cases, certain organizations may charge a nominal fee, but most often, these services are free.

The Veterans Transportation Program (VTP) offers free transportation to and from medical appointments, including cataract surgery, for veterans. This transportation is offered through Beneficiary Travel (BT), Highly Rural Transportation Grants (HRTG), and Veterans Transportation Service (VTS). Depending on the service you use, you may get the transportation directly or be reimbursed for any transportation costs later.

If you are on Medicaid, you qualify for free medical transportation as well.

Will Medicaid & Medicare Cover Transportation Costs for Cataract Surgery?

Medicaid does cover the cost of transportation to and from cataract surgery. The specifics of coverage vary somewhat between states, but it is a federal benefit. The rules and regulations on that coverage are set by the states, however.

Depending on the regulations, Medicaid patients may receive a voucher for transportation or another form of assistance to ensure their transportation costs are covered. This means you’ll be able to safely get to and from cataract surgery for free if you have Medicaid.

Contact NVISION for Help With Cataract Surgery Transportation

When you schedule with us here at NVISION, we’ll help you secure transportation to and from your cataract surgery. If you are on Medicaid, your transportation costs are fully covered. If you aren’t on Medicaid, there are other low-cost and free options to consider.

Remember that you cannot drive yourself to and from your cataract surgery appointment. It’s not safe to do so. We’ll help you ensure you are covered when it comes to transportation. Call us today to learn more.

References

Let Medicaid Give You a Ride. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 

What to Do When There’s No One to Drive Your Patient Home? American Medical Resource Institute.

Outpatient Dismissal With a Responsible Adult Compared With Structured Solo Dismissal: A Retrospective Case-Control Comparison of Safety Outcomes. (September 2018). Elsevier — Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes.

Veterans Transportation Program (VTP). (February 2023). U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Assurance of Transportation. Medicaid.gov.

Medicaid Coverage of Non-Emergency Medical Transportation. (May 2019). MACPAC.

Transportation: What Caregivers Need to Know. (January 2020). AARP.

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