Partnerships with home healthcare firms have helped CareCar stay ahead of the curve since the transportation benefit management company launched in 2017. Now, the Denver, CO-based firm hopes those same agencies will play a key role in its evolution.
The Denver, CO-based firm provides enrollees of participating Medicare Advantage (MA) plans with rides to medical appointments through partnerships with transportation providers, including home healthcare agencies, medical fleet operators and even rideshare companies, like Lyft and Uber.
But CareCar co-founder and CEO Joshua Itano told McKnight’s Home Care Daily he wants his firm to become more of a data hub that MA plans can tap for information about their clients.
“If the patient used to live in an apartment building, but then their contact information changes and now they’re living in a trailer park and they’re wheelchair-bound, there can be a huge delay and lag getting that information to a case manager or a social worker,” Itano said. “Our people encounter these folks, capture that information. This could be a huge risk to that patient because maybe they shouldn’t be living where they are living. So we can work with case managers and social workers to intervene there.”
As many MA plans expanded benefits to include transportation, rideshare companies have been partnering with payers and providers to transport patients to and from medical appointments. In 2018, Uber launched Uber Health. In early April, Lyft launched Lyft Pass for Healthcare.
These services stemmed from the difficulty many elderly and disabled patients experience accessing transportation to see medical providers. Uber estimated Americans miss up to 3.6 million medical appointments annually because they lack reliable transportation.
Lyft told McKnight’s Home Care Daily its drivers don’t have any special training in transporting patients with chronic conditions or illnesses. Uber didn’t respond to a request for comment.
But Itano said the home health agencies CareCar partners with are experienced in providing transportation to chronically ill patients and that experience provides added value to the payer.
“These certified nursing assistants on the platform … do a really good job of patient transport because they have all of this other experience. And they can do other things, so it’s evolving into those things,” Itano said.
Among the additional services Itano hopes to eventually provide is grocery shopping.
“The more access people have to the things that support their health for social determinants of health, we know that will cost us less as a country,” Itano said.
CareCar currently has agreements with six insurance companies, including Humana. It provides medical transportation service to about 150,000 customers nationwide.
“I would like to be that third-party supplemental benefit administrator for these kinds of benefits for every health plan that operates in American today, so that all of these patients have access to these kinds of things,” Itano said.