Medical transport company teams up with Lyft to help home health aides get to vulnerable clients

Home health aides go out of their way. They serve a population that’s vulnerable … and, during the continued spread of a virus known to wreak havoc on the frail, a population that’s more vulnerable by the day.

So, a couple of major organizations are pairing up to do the same for them.

LogistiCare, one of the country’s largest nonemergency medical transportation companies, rideshare service Lyft and fast-growing and in-need home care facilities are working to ensure that, when these aides are on their way to patients’ homes, they’re able to get there safely and reliably.

This collaboration, which is ferrying essential workers in Passaic and Bergen counties, has allowed the organizations to give local home health aides more than 10,000 rides since September. It’s an extension of the work Denver-based LogistiCare already does as a holder of a nonemergency Medicaid transport contract with the state of New Jersey.

Lori Bonderowitz, senior vice president of client services, said the company felt it was important to extend transportation services (provided via Lyft’s platform) to home health aides as well as the patients they serve, given that these individuals are often dependent on public transportation for travel. And they’re already facing infection risk enough as essential workers.

“We normally focus on the patient side, and getting them to care — so, this is unique for us,” Bonderowitz said. “Necessity is really the mother of invention. … And I do think that this will be an example (of) how to bring together different organizations for a common good.”

The collaboration includes CareFinders Total Care LLC, one of the fastest-growing home care agencies in the Northeast. To further the program’s reach, LogistiCare is looking for more agencies that might be interested in partaking in it.

Although its partnerships with these agencies might be new, LogistiCare has had a long-running relationship with the New Jersey Department of Human Services. The department demonstrated flexibility in letting the company go outside the bounds of its contract with the state in delivering food and groceries back in March and now transporting home health aides to patients’ homes.

“I can’t say enough about good things about the department,” Bonderowitz said. “They are very open to new ideas and different avenues to go down to solve very complicated problems.”

Kenneth W. Wilson, chief operating officer of LogistiCare, an employer of 250 people in New Jersey, said the company’s collaborative initiative ultimately represents their desire to serve the state’s most vulnerable residents.

“Our focus in the past year (during the pandemic) been around making life easier for members,” he said. “Medicaid patients can be people with particularly difficult, fragile lives. They need help, especially in the face of COVID.”