How AideChoice Seeks To Satisfy Demand For Medical Escorts

In March of 2023, the New York Times profiled an issue that is becoming more common among patients seeking to schedule elective and outpatient medical procedures.  The ability to perform medical and surgical procedures that once were only conducted in hospitals, as opposed to doctor’s offices and specialty care centers, is fueling concerns by medical providers that some patients maybe delaying needed care because they do not have a responsible escort to ensure a safe discharge home. 

The Times article described a 72-year-old retired lawyer, Robert Lewinger, who lives in Manhattan and was attempting to schedule a colonoscopy that his physician ordered.  Because the procedure requires the use of anesthesia or sedation, a medical escort (someone who could be responsible for getting the patient safely home following the procedure) was required.  Mr. Lewinger was willing to schedule the procedure, but he didn’t have the required escort.  According to the Times, “transportation itself isn’t the difficulty; Lewinger could summon an Uber or a Lyft, call a car service or hail a cab.”  Rather, “[w]hat   he needs is someone to escort [him] out of the building, take [him] back to [his] apartment and see” him into it safely.  

Based on the Times investigation, Mr. Lewinger’s story is occurring more frequently resulting in unnecessary delays in medical care and treatments.  The problem is already being described as “rampant” in the experience of Janet SeckelCerroti, executive director of FriendshipWorks, a nonprofit that trains volunteers who provide free medical escorts in and around Boston.  

Until recently, there was no easy answer for patients in Lewinger’s situation because commercial insurance carriers do not cover the cost of medical escorts.  Nor does Medicare include escorts as a covered benefit.  And, due to staffing concerns, most home care agencies will not schedule a one time escort.  AideChoice, a first-generation technology company designed to tie together independently run home care companies seeking to respond to the needs of consumers needing short-term in-home support or medical escorts, is set to begin operations in a few months serving clients in Philadelphia, PA and the surrounding communities.   AideChoice promises to offer what most long-term care agencies are not set up to do – provide “Uber like” on demand services for clients who do not require long-term care arrangements for services; but instead, may only require a one-time aide to help for as little as (3) hours.  According to the organizers of AideChoice, their goal is to provide a service where none is currently being offered, and to allow patients and their providers to increase the options available and chances of a safe discharge for patients when scheduling healthcare procedures for themselves or their loved ones.