In more ways than one, health care reforms have fostered greater collaboration among senior living providers and home health care agencies. As these providers find common ground in serving a similar clientele, some companies are leveraging technology platforms to grow their referrals.
Senior living and home care providers have long worked together to better serve seniors and their families, increase market share, and gain an advantage over competing providers.
While some senior living organizations have expanded their home care offerings either via acquisition or development of their own proprietary service line, others have formed joint venture partnerships to tap into additional revenue streams.
One partnership between an online home care marketplace and a Chicago-area senior living organization is relying on technology to drive mutual referrals.
“Our goal is to help seniors comfortably stay in place as long as possible by matching them with caregivers who meet their specific requirements,” said CareLinx President and CEO Sherwin Sheik during a recent webinar hosted by Aging2.0 ,a global accelerator that connects entrepreneurs, tech companies and investors focused on the elder care space with senior living and long-term care providers.
CareLinx says it is the largest national caregiver marketplace focused entirely on home care for the elderly and chronically ill. More than 100,000 caregivers are registered on the company’s online platform serving the top 50 metros nationwide.
The company collaborates with senior housing operators, home care agencies and post-acute rehabilitation providers that want to expand their services beyond their walls and into the broader community via non-medical home care.
“A lot of operators have realized how difficult it is to attract and retain quality providers, especially with home health and senior living providers, where it’s a low-margin business,” Sheik said. “Our senior housing partners are leveraging CareLinx as a turnkey solution to offer non-medical home care without any capital investment.”
While CareLinx works with operators in different markets across the country, it is the company’s relationship with Cantata Adult Life Services, an organization based in Brookfield, Ill., that it plans to use as a benchmark for further expanding its national breadth.
“When Sherwin and I met, we talked about what we could do together,” said Kevin Heraty, chief development officer at Cantata. “It didn’t take us long to realize we needed to take a step back and take a look at what our strategies would be.”
The companies developed a memo of understanding and executed an affiliate partnership agreement to lay out how each organization could leverage the services of the other to ensure a real collaboration going forward.
Through a co-branded website created for Cantata, CareLinx is able to receive patient referrals whenever the senior living provider has clients who need non-medical home care. In return, CareLinx provides Cantata with a continuous revenue stream once patients have been converted onto the CareLinx platform.
All of the clients Cantata has served so far as part of the collaboration have been people who live off the company’s campus in the outside community.
“We’re helping build this network where Cantata can gain economics by helping the families that their current model cannot help right now,” said Sheik.
If the occasion arises, individuals who live on-campus could also be served through the collaborative efforts, Heraty told SHN via email.
Any referral Cantata provides to CareLinx results in a one-time referral fee to Cantata, plus a revenue share with CareLinx for as long as that client is served by CareLinx, Heraty said.
The arrangement has already begun to bear fruit, with CareLinx sending “more volume” to Cantata so far this summer, Sheik said, specifically clients with immediate care needs at a level that surpasses non-medical home care. The acuity level of clients CareLinx serves are those who need, on average, about 28 hours per week of care.
CareLinx transitions clients off its books clients either by them moving to hospice or moving into an assisted living facility.
“It’s a natural relationship where Cantata has a facility and we have a relationship with families, so Cantata becomes first in line,” Sheik said. “That’s how the referral loop works.”
Written by Jason Oliva