Jonathan Bush – Modivcare
For broken bones, heart attacks or severe allergic reactions, most people know of only one mode of transportation to receive urgent medical attention: ambulances.
However, non-emergency transportation for preventative care, life-sustaining dialysis, chemotherapy or post-operative follow-ups isn’t quite so simple, particularly for people who don’t have access to reliable transportation.
That’s where Modivcare’s non-emergency medical transportation comes into play. According to Jonathan Bush, a person’s health and well-being can improve by up to 20 percent by gaining access to care and quality services.
“NEMT helps millions of people each year reach their care destinations,” he says. “Transportation is a major obstacle, especially for the vulnerable populations we serve, and we help smooth out that speed bump for them and get them to their appointments on time utilizing the mode of transportation that they prefer.”
He says it helps that in recent years, health insurance companies and the health care community overall have realized the importance of NEMT. While state Medicaid plans are required to cover this, state and private payors are increasingly taking time to educate their members about NEMT to increase use of the benefit.
Bush explains that getting members to their preventative care appointments may avoid the need for a costly emergency room visit or hospital stay.
When Bush joined Modivcare in November 2019 as deputy general counsel, the company’s only business was NEMT. A year later, the company purchased its first personal care business that provides assistance to patients for daily tasks like dressing, cooking and bathing. In September 2021, Modivcare expanded its line of services again through the acquisition of a remote patient monitoring business, which utilizes devices in patient’s homes that provide around-the-clock assistance—think fall detection and medication management.
He’s leading the legal team on standardizing policies and procedures, so the NEMT, personal care and remote monitoring businesses all operate more efficiently—and in compliance with a complex web of federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
“Paired with NEMT, our newer service lines allow us to offer care solutions that improve outcomes and reduce costs,” Bush says. “We always want to better serve our vulnerable patient base.”
Driving healthy business relationships
Bush explains that Modivcare’s NEMT division is dependent on independent transportation providers because the company works as a broker, connecting patients with vehicles and drivers.
One of his goals is to strengthen the relationships with these providers. This will help him and the operations team develop and implement predictable collaboration models, so Modivcare can guarantee a transportation provider a certain, steady volume of trips in a given city or zip code.
“This, in turn, helps the best providers grow and better serve members across the country,” he says. “It’s mutually beneficial for us, the providers and the patients.”
When the information technology and transportation teams develop and implement a system that can more accurately track demand for rides—thus facilitating volume commitments—it will also help replace the current manual processes of a patient calling Modivcare to find a ride.
These updated systems will help Modivcare avoid challenges like those it faced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 and early 2021, Bush’s legal team and other departments at Modivcare were tackling issues like ever-changing guidance and regulations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while costs for insurance and fuel increased and driver and vehicle availability decreased.
“I’m always looking to introduce efficiencies, especially as they benefit us, our transportation providers and, most importantly, the patients,” he says.
Accelerating towards DEI and ESG
To ensure the legal department is a strong business partner, Bush scrutinizes all legal issues facing the company. This isn’t just about looking for potential risks and exposure, as is common in the healthcare services industry, but also about identifying opportunities and implementing new initiatives, such as diversity, equity and inclusion as well as environmental, social and governance initiatives.
Modivcare’s front line workers—caregivers, customer services representatives and other staff—interact with and provide service to a diverse patient population. As such, the company’s leadership and legal teams must reflect that diversity to provide legal guidance in empathetic and culturally sensitive ways.
Bush has been purposeful in hiring and recruiting, resulting in a department that is over 50 percent women and over 50 percent people from historically underrepresented groups.
“From the CEO on down, we are strongly committed to DEI—and I’ve tried to build my team with that in mind,” he tells Vanguard. “Not only is striving for diversity the right thing to do, but it’s particularly important for a business like ours, helping us be more strategic and more personal in the delivery of our services.”
ESG is another increasingly important focus at Modivcare, Bush says. When he was promoted to general counsel for the company in May 2021, he took charge of ESG initiatives. His efforts led to the company publishing its first ESG report in spring 2022, with the second, more comprehensive report scheduled for release in summer 2023.
“With the support of our executive leadership team, participation and interest in ESG across the organization has increased significantly,” Bush says. “In the two years that I’ve led ESG efforts in particular, we’ve seen a lot of engagement on environmental and social initiatives—and I’m excited about the future.”
From private practice to public healthcare
Apart from supporting the NEMT, personal care and remote patient monitoring businesses, Bush is also responsible for overseeing the company’s U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure obligations.
He also serves on the steering committee, which integrates acquisitions so they can be supported and served by centralized shared services—think finance, legal and compliance teams.
“Effective integration of our solutions to become ‘One Modivcare’ to better serve patients and customers’ needs is critical to the company’s growth and ability to compete,” he says.
Taking on new challenges and working through change have been themes of Bush’s career. After he graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1996, he worked in private practice as a transactional attorney for most of his career—until 2018, when he went in-house as deputy general counsel for BioScrip, a publicly traded home infusion therapy company.
He took the position because it was an opportunity to get his feet wet in the healthcare industry, he says. As an added benefit, it allowed him to move to Denver and live closer to his sister and mother. When BioScrip was acquired, his boss joined Modivcare and asked him to come aboard.
“Watching Modivcare grow so rapidly in the past few years has been extremely exciting for me, especially since everything we do is focused on helping people gain better access to care,” Bush says. “I have truly enjoyed being part of the evolving healthcare services landscape through a company that’s driven to connect as many people to care as possible.”
View this feature in the Vanguard Summer I 2023 Edition here.
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