Medical transportation company reduces barriers to health care – one ride at a time
Medical Transportation Management president and CEO Alaina Macia is building on her family’s business that connects patients to the health care they need by getting them where they need to go.
It takes a lot of work to stay healthy. We exercise. We keep a balanced diet. We go to the doctor. But what if your health was jeopardized because you couldn’t get to your medical appointment? For millions of Americans, transportation issues stand between them and the health care they need every year, according to the American Hospital Association. As president and CEO of Medical Transportation Management (MTM), a nonemergency medical transportation company based in St. Louis, Alaina Macia knows how vital a reliable, accessible, and affordable ride can be for the patients they serve.
“We’re there to take patients to their health care appointments, but I think that’s just scraping the surface. … There are so many things outside of your health that determine your health care outcome,” she said. A few decades ago, there weren’t many medical transportation options. Patients without a car or the ability to drive often resorted to calling an expensive, resource-draining ambulance for a ride to the ER, only to receive less preventative, less personalized care. If getting to an appointment is too burdensome, many patients may forego or delay medical treatment, risking their health.
That’s why, in 1995, Lynn and Peg Griswold — Macia’s father and stepmother — became early entrants into an industry that gave nonemergency rides to low-income patients and patients with disabilities as part of contracts with state governments. MTM’s rides are covered by Medicare and Medicaid and are ADA-accessible, which means more patients can overcome their transportation barriers.
“We’re there to take [patients] to their health care appointments, but that’s just scraping the surface.” — Alaina Macia, president and CEO, MTM
By leveraging MTM’s services, Macia said, customers gain greater access to medical care and the peace of mind that comes with knowing they or a loved one will receive care.
“If you’re living two or three states away from your aging parents and you’re worried about them,” she said, “you can work with MTM to make sure they’re getting the care they need and are able to age in place.”
Hitting an ‘inflection point’
Much has changed since the ‘90s, and this is especially true for a company that sits at the intersection of health care, transportation, and technology.
When it started, MTM operated in a couple of states. It’s now in 36 and counting and has its own fleet of transit vehicles in addition to a large roster of drivers through contracts and partnerships with other companies or agencies. It had a one-person IT department when Macia took the helm in 2003. Today, patients can reach a call center if they need to, but following major investments in its technology, many now use MTM’s mobile application to schedule rides right from their phones.
These huge changes came with huge growth. Recently, the company found itself with an existential decision: whether to sell or double down on innovation. MTM leaders chose to grow, but doing so would require a major infusion of capital. Macia called it an “inflection point.”
“You have to innovate to keep growing. I think that's where we were at,” she said. “If we didn't do something different, we wouldn't just stall, we would eventually decline.”
A ‘transformational’ relationship
In August 2022, MTM announced its acquisition of Veyo, which leverages data, technology and its Independent Driver Provider model to improve access to health care. With combined revenue of approximately $1 billion, MTM and Veyo will serve over 15 million members in 36 states and provide almost 21 million annual trips.
It turns out that Wells Fargo had been interested in MTM’s business and had developed a relationship over several years. Working with a company that lives and breathes government contracts, federal health care programs, and evolving patient needs called for an expert. Luckily, there are experts at Wells Fargo.
“This [financing] truly is transformational so that we grow to the next level. It’s changed our company permanently.” — Alaina Macia, president and CEO, MTM
Rodney Altman is both a managing director with Wells Fargo Strategic Capital and a medical doctor who practices in a hospital emergency department several times a month. Having him on the Wells Fargo team partnering with MTM, along with John Teasley, a relationship manager on Commercial Banking’s health care team, meant the company brought in-depth health care know-how to the table with MTM.
“MTM’s customers are like patients I’ve worked with over and over in my career as an emergency physician,” Altman said. “Having that understanding, not only at a very high level, but also down to the customer and the patient level, is something unique about Wells Fargo.”
The multimillion-dollar financing package that Wells Fargo put together, which ultimately won MTM’s business, included a creative solution that reduced the cost of capital for the company, Teasley said. In addition to a commercial loan, the transaction featured a second infusion of capital from Strategic Capital, which invests in emerging companies.
“Wells Fargo led both sides of this transaction, which is unique and allowed us to provide an overall financing package that was more attractive for the company” Teasley said.
“This is another example of the collaboration we have across Wells Fargo. We really worked hand in glove and combined our efforts to make the entire process a great experience for MTM,” Altman added. “We had a lot of fun doing it, too.”
With financing secured, MTM has a prime opportunity for growth ahead, Macia said. The company is now budgeting for new product development, new partnerships, and new acquisitions that will support its mission to put patients in the driver’s seat when it comes to planning their medical care.
“This truly is transformational so that we can grow to the next level,” she said. “It’s changed our company permanently, and we’re going to grow beyond where we’re at today.”