Envoy America and HomeThrive announced Monday that the two companies are teaming up on a program offering transportation-plus-assistance and companionship services to older adults.
The partnership comes as more companies look to address the social determinants that hinder care.
“Transportation is one of the biggest challenges that family members have,” Dave Jacobs, co-founder and managing director of HomeThrive, told Home Health Care News. “So finding a great provider and partner in that was critical for us. Transportation is such a lynchpin to a lot of other social determinants.”
HomeThrive’s staff of social workers provides clients with a comprehensive care plan for older adults, as well as coaching, personal assistance and concierge services. The Northbrook, Illinois-based company — which has about 20 employees — services the private-pay market, long-term care insurance companies and Medicare Advantage plans.
Founded in 2015, Envoy America is a Phoenix, Arizona-based company that provides door-to-door transportation service, along with assistance and companionship, to older adults that live at home.
Envoy also works with other businesses serving older adults as well, such as senior living facilities, health care organizations and religious institutions.
In addition to Phoenix, Envoy America operates across Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin in Texas. The company also works in the Tucson market in Arizona, as well as in Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia in Washington. Envoy also has a presence in a handful of other major metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Philadelphia and Chicago.
Under the new partnership, Envoy America will provide transportation support to HomeThrive clients once their care plan is in place.
“Both organizations look to help seniors and their family members stay independent, healthy and socially active,” K.C. Kanaan, CEO of Envoy America, told HHCN. “For the seniors who can’t drive or shouldn’t drive, our partnership helps HomeThrive deliver those services … replicating what a family member would do to help their relative.”
Although ride-hailing services have been around for some years now, these services can sometimes be difficult for older adults to navigate, according to Jacobs.
“What we found is that a lot of people are uncomfortable with these kinds of services,” Jacobs said. “They are complicated for seniors. You’ve probably had experiences where you order an Uber — which is a good service — but then you have to find it, ensure its the right license plate. And if you don’t find it quickly, it leaves. That is a challenging dynamic for a senior.”
For their part, ride-hailing giants Lyft (Nasdaq: LYFT) and Uber (NYSE: UBER) have started to target home care providers and older riders, making their services more accessible and easily coordinated. 24 Hour Home Care and Comfort Keepers, for example, are just some of the home care players that have partnered with Lyft to offer seniors on-demand transportation services.
In fact, seniors will be a driving force in Lyft’s business in 2020 and beyond, the company’s vice president of health care told HHCN last week.
Envoy America’s “driver companions” are trained on how to interact with older adults, including helping individuals living with dementia. These drivers are similarly trained to work with older adults who use wheelchairs and walkers, according to Kanaan.
As a part of their new partnership, HomeThrive and Envoy America plan to work closely with home care providers to make care arrangements for their clients, complementing one another’s services.
Specifically, Envoy America works with Home Instead Senior Care and Cypress HomeCare Solutions, according to Kanaan.
For now, the offering from HomeThrive and Envoy America is only available in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs — but there are plans in place to expand.
“We would like to work with Envoy in every market in the country, and we have a plan that we are implementing to expand in some new markets together,” Jacobs said. “Hopefully, this will be a roadmap that we can use to expand together more aggressively.”