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Revolutionizing Health Transportation With Rideshare
Episode

Josh Komenda, CEO, and President of Veyo

Revolutionizing Health Transportation with Rideshare

In this episode, we are covering health transportation and we have the privilege of hosting the fantastic Josh Komenda. Josh is the Co-Founder, CEO, and President of Veyo, a full-service, non-emergency medical transportation brokerage designed specifically for health care.

Josh discusses how his company is providing a solution to the logistics challenge of NEMT(non emergency medical transportation). He explains how his team saw an opportunity to bring a new transportation model to the healthcare world, how they help close the gap for both patients and providers, and how they leverage tech-based transportation to offer better transparency and efficiency. Josh also shares the major advantages of Veyo, as well as several challenges they have faced over the years.

It has been a really interesting conversation and we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.

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Revolutionizing Health Transportation With Rideshare

About Josh Komenda

Josh is the Co-Founder & CEO of Veyo, end-to-end solution to the logistics challenge of NEMT (non emergency medical transportation). Prior to Veyo, he was the CEO and Principal at 2pointB, a transportation-for-hire company. Josh was also the President of GoFastCab and a staff engineer at Qualcomm. He received his Computer Engineering degree at the University of Waterloo and his MBA at University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business.

Revolutionizing Health Transportation With Rideshare with Josh Komenda, Co-Founder, CEO, and President of Veyo: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Revolutionizing Health Transportation With Rideshare with Josh Komenda, Co-Founder, CEO, and President of Veyo: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Saul Marquez:
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Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket everyone, Saul Marquez here. Today, I have the privilege of hosting the fantastic Josh Komenda. He’s the co-founder, CEO and president of Veyo. He’s doing a phenomenal job at the company. It’s a full service, non-emergency medical transportation brokerage designed specifically for health care. Veyo uses technology to better manage an EMT, which is the non-emergency medical transportation and EMT benefits for Medicaid and Medicare programs, state governments, and managed care organizations. Today, we’re going to be covering this and doing some good learning with Josh. So, Josh, such a pleasure to have you here on the podcast with us today.

Josh Komenda:
Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here, so I appreciate it.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely. Josh, before we get into Veyo, your company, talk to us a little bit about why you’re inspired to work in health care.

Josh Komenda:
I grew up with a health care family. My dad was a family physician, now retired. My mom was a registered nurse, and my older brother ended up going into medicine as well. But definitely, it was part of my family’s culture growing up and really part of our core values and two of the people that I respect the most in this world are my parents and my dad’s sort of never ending quest or desire to really improve the human condition and show compassion. I personally wasn’t drawn to the clinical aspects of health care. I was always a bit more of a tech nerd and I loved technology and inventing things when I was a kid. Ended up going into computer engineering and studying software design, but always wanted to figure out how to invent things to make the world a better place. And as it happens, my career really took me in this direction to really build a better NEMT and a better health care logistics system to really improve the health care system or work to improve a part of the health care system systemically. And so I’m just thrilled that this has come to this point at my career. I’m thinking about how we make the health care system work smarter, improve the human condition, improve lives, improve outcomes. I’m just excited. We’re on a collision course of health care costs in our country. And I think the more I learned about it and studied it and I think that really the only way out of it is to make our system work more efficiently and work smarter. And I think this is one area in what we call population health, our social determinants that that really inspires me to make the system work better for everybody.

Saul Marquez:
That’s great. And the other topic that’s come up a lot and it’s been more in the center of discussions is social determinants of health and transportation is one of those how you get to see your physician, whether it’s getting there on a car or a truck and even the broadband that for virtual care. But right now, we’re going to talk about transportation. And so I think a good place to start, Josh, would be to learn from you. So talk to us about this non-emergency medical transportation segment of the market and then help us understand how you guys are adding value to Medicaid and Medicare programs.

Josh Komenda:
Absolutely. There’s a study or information from CMS a few years ago that suggests that about 3.5 million Americans miss their health care appointments every year because of specifically because of transportation issues. Later, data suggests that the number can be much higher today. If you think about a lot of populations, lower-income folks that don’t have a car in the family, people who live with chronic health conditions, that makes driving very difficult. You think about getting to routine doctor’s appointments like a primary care specialist, and especially in life-sustaining treatments like dialysis, chemotherapy, or just getting those appointments. It’s critical to stay healthy. And when somebody misses an appointment, it’s not just sort of in that moment, that patient’s frustration. That missed appointment can lead to will lead to worse health outcomes and lower quality of life, most importantly, but also ends up costing the system more money as well, right? If patients are not able to stay compliant to treatment plans, their conditions can worsen. They could end up in the E.R. Then think about the cost from the health care provider side as well, especially if you haven’t, you end up with an empty dialysis chair or any other kind of medical appointment. That’s a huge cost burden to health care providers as well. So really just closing that gap is so critical. NEMT it wasn’t invented by Veyo. It’s been around since the 1960s.

Josh Komenda:
Originally, I always thought of us as even the original architects of Medicaid, believe that especially lower income populations, this could be a particular risk. And so it was always a guideline that helped with transportation assistance should be part of benefits, but it just worked in transportation, but a very difficult to administer system. I think we all remember back in the day, even 10, 20 years ago, ground transportation was just not as easy to come by and expensive. And so I think to the degree that we can continue to improve the reliability, the transparency and the efficiency of transportation, we can continue to drive that and close those gaps.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that’s great. And there’s a lot of gaps. And so if we hone into to some of the ones that you guys are more focused on and have been able to create improved workflows and and better outcomes, give us a couple of examples, an example or two of how you guys are doing that.

Josh Komenda:
Definitely. I started my first company back in 2009 and we were a mobile app and SMS company for traditional ground transportation, ground transportation systems. And around the early 2010, 2011, the early 2010s decade, there was this sort of all of a sudden this kind of flood of new technologies that really could just enable new business models, cloud computing, GPS, ubiquitous mobile tablets. And this was allowed for a lot of changes in various operational model from traditional businesses. But in transportation specifically, it really just allowed this new much, much more trackable transportation system. Tablets at every vehicle, cloud computing that conceal locations of cars, makes for pickups were happening on time. In the consumer world, you really saw sort of the emergence of these transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft and sort of these tech-based transportation players that could also set all of a sudden deliver to consumers much more transparency. They’re also these flexible supply models where they could add vehicles into the road really easily. And that meant that instead of ordering a taxi, which might take an hour to show up, you can usually depend on people to get an Uber or Lyft in five to 10 minutes generally. We began to see that the emergence of these models. And back in 2015, just before Veyo started, we started traveling the country talking to Medicaid directors, health plan executives, and the number one frustration of all those things that those folks deal with and have to coordinate and solve, the number one frustration they had was transportation. Their members missed appointments, having much more complex situations because of transportation frustrations. And we began to see this opportunity to sort of adapt to these new technology and operational models to work in the health care world. So at essence, you know, there’s three main differences that our platform, advantages that our platform to bring to the industry.

Josh Komenda:
One is where the company that tracks more than 70 percent of all of our rides of real time and we can see pickups was happening. We can see patients that potentially could be at risk for a pick up. We can intervene before it happens. And we also share that information with patients and members in real time so they can track their vehicles as well as health care providers. That just means like a much more transparent, reliable system where everyone sees what’s going on and we can intervene and stop problems before somebody is at home had a missed ride.

Josh Komenda:
The second major advantage is we’ve built for the first ride sharing network or transportation network company designed for health care. Many of our drivers have in the past worked for companies like Uber and Lyft as well. But our drivers get about eight hours of training in the health care world. So CPR, first aid, A.D.A training, how to help people with intellectual disabilities, behavioral health challenges, kids with autism, are trained on HIPAA and patient privacy law and how to help somebody from the front door. So a lot of our folks, a lot of the people we transport might be living with using a walker or a wheelchair, our drivers are trained on how to help those folks make sure they get in the car and get out of the car safely. This new transportation network model built For health care means our supplies are really flexible. And we can flex and add more capacity extremely easily to make sure we have the right number of cars on the road. And that’s how we can get such reliable on time percentages, pick up times, have a much much lower missed rate and complaint rate. The three main areas just being, we realized back in 2015 at the traditional NEMT industry just lacked had not invested in technology and was really using built on infrastructure that was in some cases 20 years old. We just built a brand new platform where we have a product called Ride View, for example, where health care providers can log in and they can book and track trips for their members or their patients and they can dispatch vehicles or pickup trips activate see who’s coming into the clinic at any time. Also there are even tools for members. They can see those things as well. So we’re just building better technology for the health care ecosystem to use this service more effectively.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that sounds great. You guys have really hyper niched on health care. You see companies, the main companies like Uber and Lyft who do ride share the whole ride sharing. I mean…

Josh Komenda:
Yeah, ride sharing would work.

Saul Marquez:
Ride sharing is what they do. But you’re training people on health care. You’re you’re showing them all of the things that they need to know. So it’s more a more of a specialized workforce for these fleet drivers. It’s very interesting that that you guys have focused here. What has been the perception and the uptake of your services?

Josh Komenda:
So we’ve grown substantially since we started back in 2015. So it was created sort of as a part startup and part spinout.Total transit of Arizona was is our parent company, and they owned the traditional NEMT brokerage For a number of years, operating In the traditional model of our competitors and in 2015 we basically kind of created a new subsidiary, reorganized the company and created Veyo and basically built this new technology model with that existing division. At the time, we are probably doing roughly 10 or 12 thousand trips a day. And we first started that. And then this year we’re expecting to hear probably about forty five thousand trips a the day by the end of the year. So we’ve grown substantially. We work for both managed care organizations as well as state agencies that are delivering a transportation benefit to Medicaid recipients. I think overwhelmingly over the last four or five years, they’ve recognized what this investment in technology could do. We really help power their programs to the next level. We’re also excited, you know, in addition to working with payers, we’re also starting to in the last six months or so, increase our number of relationships with health care providers and other types of stakeholders in the system that really want to use. This is an important tool to close this gap in access to care.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that’s fantastic. It’s great that you’ve developed this system that enables insight, not just like here. I’m going to get you from point A to point B. You’re giving folks care coordinators, people at the hospital, the physicians data that that will help them get ahead of potential issues as well, which which I find very interesting. And so as you put together the platform, what would you say is one of the biggest setbacks you’ve experienced and learning that’s made you and the company better?

Josh Komenda:
As a result, I think is probably any entrepreneur will tell you. I mean, there’s always business career, starting new projects and new systems are just it’s full of challenges and setbacks as well as big wins and successes. So that’s that’s part of it. It’s always frustrating to maybe in our past and to not win a deal that we thought we really would have been the best fit for, et cetera. I think if I kind of reach back to my personal entrepreneurial career, I think back in in 2010 or 2011, after I started my first venture, which was in sort of SMS and mobile app based system for traditional taxicab companies, kind of before Uber and Lyft have launched or really gained momentum. And we had some really early success with my first company scaling and growing. And then I think in my sort of maybe my younger entrepreneurial years, I thought we were being really disruptive and then watching Uber and Lyft really come up with this sort of once an unbelievably cataclysmic business model that was going to completely shake the ground transportation industry to its core. And kind of one hundred year old in hundred years, leap year old industry that just cataclysmically was going to change the next five years. And, you know, my first company, we were largely serving that traditional industry. So that was kind of a major inflection point early on in my entrepreneurial career. And realizing that you can start something interesting, disruptive, and there’s always something or there can be something really lurking in the shadows that’s that’s really much more really going to disrupt you. But I think it was also an incredible learning experience. And really one of the one of the reasons why Veyo was created was being on the front lines of watching what Uber and Lyft had done for the consumer world. And thinking about while there are some are some really interesting innovations here that we could learn from and adapt to these other industry verticals like health care, transportation. So I really credit for that initial maybe set back and frustration with my first company, but also really being an amazing learning experience to take and kind of an inspiration for Veyo.

Saul Marquez:
And that’s great. And kudos to you for being committed and persistent. I mean, you’ve stayed on track. You honed in to this specific, very, very specific vertical. And so it’s promising the rewards that that you’re getting, but also that that the customers of the platform are getting in terms of getting folks to where they need to be at the right time so they can receive their care. I mean, it’s it wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t stay with it. So, kudos man!

Josh Komenda:
Thank you.

Saul Marquez:
So, Josh, then, really, as you think about the future, what would you say you’re most excited about?

Josh Komenda:
This last year or so has been really a great and catastrophically sad story for so many folks with the pandemic and just upended lives and ended lives and in so many ways. And so that part has been very tough for a lot of folks and a lot of the folks that we serve. I think that the one one sort of silver lining has been just the fact that I think it’s also been a chance for our health care system to really reexamine delivery models and how to effectively serve people. And some of it has been increased use of tele-medicine and home health. And I think that that was obviously done out of urgency and necessity had to protect people. But I think that some of it will continue to be a more entrenched part of our health care system, and I think that Veyo is really interested in would be gone for kind of think about we are in essence a platform for incredibly skilled at logistics, high skill logistics and highly reliable and efficient logistics in a health care system, how to help manage population needs. We’ve begun to explore what other potential gaps and ways we can solve gaps in care and these new delivery models and realize that health care can be delivered really not just in building health care buildings, but in homes really everywhere. So thinking about I’m kind of excited about that prospect of further improving the efficiency of our health care system, making it more patient-centric and also the role that we can play in solving some of those problems.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely. Yeah. There’s there’s a huge opportunity here, and it’s fantastic that you guys are making the insights and putting in the systems and processes to make it easier on all of us, and particularly the less privileged folks that need this type of care as part of the benefits that they receive so they could access health care and live healthy, productive lives. This is such an interesting conversation, Josh. I think that it’s promising that to see where you and your team are going to take this in the future. Well, you know, why don’t you leave us with the closing thought, let us know what we should be thinking about as it relates to medical transportation. And then where would the listeners be able to get in touch with you if they wanted to continue the conversation?

Josh Komenda:
Definitely, I appreciate that, Saul. So I think one thing that I was at a health care conference a few years ago and one thing that kind of a final thought that stuck with me and I’ve continued to think about that was a health care conference a few years ago. And there was a famous venture capitalist there, Krosoczka, and he was sort of speaking to a room to about room, about two thousand engineers and entrepreneurs. He said, stop making stuff just for kind of wealthy consumer services in San Francisco, Right.. The world doesn’t need another dry cleaning up. There are so many complicated and important problems to solve in our society. Things have to do with how our governments operate, how our health care system operates, things behind the consumer services that really can really profoundly impact and improve lives and efficiency. And that kind of stuck with me. And that was sort of in the early days of the creation of Veyo. And that really stuck with me sort of thinking about NEMT as an industry that I had never heard of 10 years ago. And the more I got exposed to it and learned and Studied it, this was just one relatively small area of health care. But thinking about how many problems and ways we can improve our health care industry and other and other and other services in society, that may not be as interesting consumer apps, but really could have a really profound effect on improving lives and really improving society. So much greater respect than maybe a new drug going on, for example, that really resonated with me. And the more I thought about it, I think my some of my maybe advice to maybe younger entrepreneurs or people starting off would be to really think about kind of push past solving problems that you perceive maybe in your day to day life and just thinking about it, understanding more complex problems in our health care world or others. If anyone wants to get in touch with me about Veyo or really anything else, they’re welcome to reach out by email jkomenda@Veyo.com.

Saul Marquez:
Outstanding, Josh. And that’s jkomenda@veyo.com. We’ll leave a link to Josh’s email address as well as his company Veyo.com in the show notes. So make sure you check that out. And Josh, just want to say thanks again for spending some time with us. This has been a really interesting conversation.

Josh Komenda:
I really, really appreciate you having me, Saul and I enjoyed it as well. Thanks so much.

Saul Marquez:
Hey, everyone. Saul Marquez here. Have you launched your podcast already and discovered what a pain it could be to keep up with editing, production, show notes, transcripts and operations? What if you could turn over the keys to your podcast busywork while you do the fun stuff like expanding your network and taking the industry stage? Let us edit your first episode for free so you can experience the freedom. Visit smoothpodcasting.com to learn more. That’s smoothpodcasting.com to learn more.

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Things You’ll Learn

  • Missed appointments can lead to worse health outcomes and lower quality of life. It  also ends up costing the system more money as well.
  • Veyo offers a transparent, reliable system where everyone sees what’s going on.
  • There are so many complicated and important problems to solve in our society, things behind the consumer services that really can really profoundly impact and improve lives and efficiency.

 

Resources:

Email: jkomenda@veyo.com

Website: https://veyo.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshkomenda/