SAN FRANCISCO (October 1, 2018)—CareLinx, an online homecare network with 300,000 caregivers across the US, is now offering AARP members in-home care services. AARP members can be matched based on compatibility with certified, vetted private in-home caregivers for themselves or a loved one at reduced cost.

“It is a daunting task for families to find companion in-home care that is a good fit for their loved one’s situation. AARP’s mission is to empower people to choose how they live as they age, which for some means helping people age in place. In-home care is a key element in helping loved ones maintain independence,” said Sanjay Khurana, vice president AARP Services Caregiving in a press release.

Unlike traditional agencies, CareLinx is a caregiver platform—smart-matching families and caregivers directly, giving families more control and greater transparency into who cares for their loved ones. Families hire the best caregiver for their needs, with no minimum hourly contracts or constraints. This way, patients receive consistent care from the same caregiver, as opposed to agencies who may send different aides. CareLinx caregivers are also tech-enabled with digital care plans on their smartphones—enabling better quality care, with direct communication to a patient's family, as desired. This also allows families insight into care with real-time updates, including GPS tracking of timesheets and work performed.

CareLinx caregivers undergo intense vetting, including: background checks, criminal database checks, the national sex offender registry, personality assessments and online reviews from previous and current clients. At a client’s request, CareLinx can also assist with enhanced security FBI fingerprinting-based criminal background checks.

The AARP partnership has been six years in the making. In 2012, CareLinx won an award at an AARP live pitch event where members voted for solutions in real time.

“AARP members have Medicare and private insurance,” said CEO and founder Sherwin Sheik in an interview with HomeCare, “but caregiving expenses were hitting their base hard.” Leadership started paying attention. At a national leadership meeting in Washington D.C., caregiving was huge topic, as well as saving members money while paying caregivers fair wages. AARP ran a pilot program with CareLinx and other homecare agencies, and ended up choosing CareLinx as their partner in caregiving.

“We are truly honored to be an AARP partner,” said Sheik. “AARP selects only one or two partners in each category so it’s a pretty big win for us.”

Generali Acquisition Update
In September 2017, CareLinx was acquired by Generali Global Assistance, part of Generali Group. “Since merging with Generali, we are no longer considered a small or private company,” Sheik said. “We are now working with many of the largest health plans in the country to help figure out how to incorporate non-skilled homecare into their health plans.”

In mid-2018, CMS announced that non-skilled, non-medical homecare would be part of Medicare Advantage plans for 2019. “We are taking action and doing experiments to figure out who gets qualified for homecare,” said Sheik. “We want to know who is taking advantage of the benefit and using it, and who shouldn’t be taking advantage.”

Sheik said the company hasn’t changed in the premise he founded the company on a decade ago—even as mobile technology has become more ubiquitous.

“What I am seeing is that more caregivers want to have their own practice and set their own rates,” Sheik said. “CareLinx serves as LinkedIn for them. We work with large health systems, large advocacy groups and individuals to provide employment opportunities, but the caregiver manages their own practice. The core of the company has stayed the same.”

Even with the scale from the Generali acquisition and the new AARP partnership, Sheik stressed that he did not want homecare providers to get spooked. “We partner with other companies. They come on board and use our technology to run their businesses more efficiently,” he said.

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