New York-based Hometeam, a mobile-based, senior-focused home care company, announced they will begin accepting Medicaid in New York City.
The new partnership will primarily focus on those who have Medicaid’s managed long-term care plans, which is about 150,000 people, but the service could also be used by the 15,000 people who are in dual managed care plans (through both Medicaid and another payer), or the entire Medicaid population in the city, which is 2.6 million people and includes children and younger adults.
Arjun Bhimavarapu, Hometeam’s vice president of sales and marketing, said the idea to expand to Medicaid populations has been in the works for some time.
“Since the day we started doing business, we always had folks calling in, looking for support and seeing on how we work with payers,” Bhimavarapu told MobiHealthNews in an interview. “We had so many thousands of people calling who were looking for home care, but instead of having an Amex or other credit card, they had a Medicaid card and couldn’t pay for it.”
Hometeam provides families and individuals with a caregiver to the senior – or anyone else who needs long-term care at home. Services include helping the patient take medication, maintain hygiene, provide transportation or make meals. Hometeam keeps an iPad in every home so caregivers can also plan activities and update family members about the patient’s daily progress, and all involved parties can view updates from their smartphone and send notes and suggestions to the caregiver.
Those who aren’t using Medicaid pay $22 to $25 per hour, which can obviously get expensive over a long period of time, but high-level home care service and professional care service is critical for many. Bhimaravapu explained the complex nature of navigating long-term care, not just for seniors but also disabled people or those with serious chronic conditions. Nursing homes or at-home care are often not a natural extension of health plans or hospital services, and Hometeam also guides clients through other healthcare services they may need to line up as well.
“A lot of folks in the past were getting our service by paying privately, and we couldn’t help everyone we wanted to,” said Bhimavarapu. “But now we can, and for those who maybe were paying privately before and then got to a place where they couldn’t afford it, we can help them too.”
To support the service expansion, Hometeam recently hired Elizabeth Berman as chief of people for the company, and they will continue onboarding and training new staff to deliver care to a larger population.
“We’ve been so keen on being able to provide a differential level of service to the Medicaid population, and we don’t view our customers as any different regardless of how they get the service,” Bhimaravapu said.