Papa Shakes Up ‘Grandkids-on-Demand’ Label, Widens Scope Beyond Seniors

Grandkids-on-demand startup Papa Inc. announced last week that it has paired with Priority Health to begin offering services to the Michigan health plan’s Medicare Advantage members.

The move — along with a rework of Papa’s brand — are good indications of the ambitions that the company has in 2020. Only two years old, Papa is tinkering with its mission and hopes to help more than just seniors moving forward, Papa founder and CEO Andrew Parker told Home Health Care News.

Currently, the Miami-based company provides companionship and assistance to seniors, whether that’s helping out with technology, transportation, light housework or just curbing loneliness. That particular range of services could give companies like Priority Health an upper hand against its competitors.

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“We are excited to be the first health plan in Michigan to provide the unique services which Papa provides,” Priority Health CEO Joan Budden said in a statement. “Most people are not used to a health care plan that provides in-home assistance to this degree … ”

Papa’s trademark service delivery system is characterized by college students pairing with seniors to prevent social isolation and help out with daily activities. These students are dubbed “Papa Pals.”

Since its launch, Papa has repeatedly shown its grandkids-on-demand model can be successful in improving senior health. So much so, in fact, that Papa has raised well over $10 million in funding while pairing with industry behemoths like Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM).

“Our big focus right now for 2020 is to continue to grow in partnerships,” Parker said. “But we’re also really thinking about expanding into new channels, and [we] already have some good success in that. One [example] is to expand into Medicaid to support beyond just older adults and into families [overall].”

This way, the Papa Pals could provide assistance to more than seniors, like postpartum mothers or family caregivers who could use similar services. The broader approach will force Papa to widen its scope in 2020.

With that in mind, Papa is moving away from the “grandkids-on-demand” slogan to “family on-demand,” Parker said. Grandkids on-demand will remain in some areas under the company’s brand, but the family-on-demand slogan is more all-encompassing and, thus, more appropriate for its future endeavors.

Papa leverages more than its pals, too.

Its proprietary technology, the “Papa Platform,” has a sole purpose that’s far from just setting up visits. The company’s technology allows it to collect useful data on behalf of health plans and families, specifically by tracking set objectives meant to increase quality of life.

“I think what’s exciting about Papa is that we’ve become the eyes and ears of the plan,” Parker said. “We’re really a trusted source for the older adults or family members using our product.”

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