Sometimes, getting to the appointment is the hardest part!

From my neighborhood, a trip to the clinic on public transportation requires taking 2 busses after walking about 2 miles along a busy roadway with no sidewalks. When a clinic client who lives near me drove to her prenatal appointments she spent about $5 a trip on gas- doesn’t sound too bad until you think about all of the clinic visits required to promote a healthy pregnancy!

Transportation hardships that lead to missed appointments and gaps in care are one of the Social Determinants of Health that Medi-Cal and Partnership Health Plan are working to address.

Medi-Cal (fee for service and pregnancy only) and Partnership Health Plan both offer transportation support for pregnant clients. It's called NMT, or nonmedical transportation. (Not to be confused with NEMT, which is nonemergency medical transportation).
DHCS recently sent an update on transportation benefits. I was curious to see what the changes mean for CPSP staff trying to make referrals, so I sent some emails and made some phone calls.

The results? Let’s just say several hours later I was really glad I wasn't a non-English speaking client with transportation issues. Here's the bottom line:

For clients with Partnership Health Plan:
You, or your client, can call to schedule: 888-828-1254. Or, your client can apply for transportation service through the member portal.

For clients with Pregnancy Only Medi-Cal (or Fee for Service):
You, or your client, should email DHCS at
(I was assured they will respond in Spanish to an email written in Spanish)
Do not send any personal client information in this email- DHCS will respond with a secure email requesting specific information. You can either reply to the secure email to provide the information, or fax the information to (916) 440-5617.

Both of these services require a 5-day lead time- minimum.
You can schedule multiple appointments with one request.
Reasons for needing NMT can include any of the following:
No valid driver's license.
No working vehicle available in the household.
Not being able to travel or wait for covered Medi-Cal services alone.
Having a physical, cognitive, mental, or developmental limitation.
No money for gas to get to appointment.

Transportation is available to and from covered Medi-Cal services, including:
Medical appointments, including family planning, mental health, and substance use disorder services.
Dental appointments.
Picking up prescriptions.
Picking up medical supplies and equipment.
Liz George, RN, PHN, HNB-BC, IBCLC
Senior Public Health Nurse, Perinatal Services Coordinator, MCAH Coordinator
Cell 707-888-4202
Sonoma County Maternal Child and Adolescent Health | Website