Ford to Scale Back Skilled Nursing Transportation Arm, Shift to Autonomous Vehicles

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) has substantially scaled back plans for its medical transportation subsidiary GoRide Health, marking a major turn for the ambulance alternative that had targeted the skilled nursing and hospital-system spaces.

TechCrunch initially reported the news this week.

GoRide Health, which was launched in March 2017 with the goal of providing an non-emergency medical transportation for seniors, is shutting down in Detroit, Toledo, Dayton, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, TechCrunch reported. 

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The company will instead place a new spotlight on autonomous vehicles (AVs) in the Miami area — a pilot which Ford will take part in, Martin Gunsberg, mobility communications manager at Ford Motor Company, confirmed. 

We have advised our customers and suppliers that the mobility services delivered by GoRide Health over the past two years will move to the next phase by aligning operations with our AV launch cities,” Gunsberg said in an e-mail. “As GoRide Health builds the next pilot service for Miami, current services in non-AV launch cities will be suspended by the end of this year.”

Without offering specifics about the autonomous car pilot, Gunsberg said the new project aligns with Ford’s values of improving transportation access for those with mobility constraints, and the company is looking to the Miami pilot to “help Ford better understand the role AVs can play in this important transport sector.”

GoRide had operated a fleet of special Ford Transit and Ford Transit Connect vans, piloted by drivers with HIPAA-compliant credentials to serve skilled nursing residents and other senior populations struggling to travel to essential medical services, SNN reported in June.

Over the past year, the company had gradually expanded its base of Midwestern customers, which included the Dearborn, Mich.-based Beaumont Health network of hospitals, nursing homes, and other care sites; Detroit Medical Center system; and the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority in Ohio, SNN reported.

Just six months ago, Ford seemed poised for a major expansion in the long-term health and post-acute space when SNN sat down with GoRide’s CEO, Minyang “M.J.” Jiang, who lauded expansion in Ohio for early 2019.

“We’re now in two cities in Ohio, and we’ll be launching in two more cities in Ohio in the next few months. We’ll be expanding to Florida and North Carolina by the end of the year. And as we’re expanding to other states, we’re also continuing to saturate the markets where we’ve already launched,” GoRide CEO Minyang “M.J.” Jiang told SNN in June.

At the time, GoRide’s plans for 2020 included expansion in Louisiana, Texas, California, with more growth ahead in North Carolina and Florida — and possibly Kentucky.

SNN was unable to reach GoRide by press time.

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