When K.C. Kanaan’s parents lost their ability to drive, Kanaan began looking for solutions to help his aging parents maintain their independence. But after extensive searching, he discovered a lack of reliable transportation, assistance and companionship services that his parents required.
“My siblings and I became their lifeline to the world. My parents relied on us for driving and escorting them everywhere — doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, errands and social events,” says Kanaan. “With small children of our own, it became increasingly difficult to be available to both my children’s and parents’ needs.”
Lacking a proper solution for his own parents, Kanaan worked to create a service with the vision of serving seniors across the country. Kanaan’s company, Envoy America, offers door-through-door service where the Driver Companions not only drive but also provide assistance and companionship at all points along the journey, from pushing a grocery cart to running errands to escorting clients to and from medical appointments and more.
Just four years after its founding, Envoy America now offers its services in more than 130 cities across Arizona, Texas, Washington, New Mexico, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Alabama, South Carolina and Illinois, with plans to expand into half a dozen more states over the next few months. “We’ve found that, in every market we’ve entered, there has been extremely high demand for the services we offer,” says Kanaan. “This is true from the partnership perspective as well as the client perspective.”
Kanaan has focused on growing his company in a smart and deliberate way, entering new markets with key partnerships in place. So far, Envoy America has been highly successful in partnering with companies that offer non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT). Every year, 3.5 million low-income, elderly and disabled patients miss important medical appointments, which results in overall increased costs for healthcare providers and insurers. In partnering with companies that are working to close this gap, Envoy America has been able to offer NEMT companies a new resource for their clients, help reduce healthcare costs and help seniors get to their medical appointments that ensure their quality of life.
Envoy America has rapidly grown its operations throughout the country by securing strategic partnerships with organizations and companies that benefit from its services. “When entering new markets, it’s all about the value proposition you can offer,” says Kanaan. “When we start talking to new companies and organizations, it doesn’t take long for them to recognize that there is a win-win scenario by partnering with us.” Partnerships include AMR’s Access2Care program, which manages the transportation experience for those receiving a non-emergency medical transportation in various states; marquee senior care communities across the country, helping seniors maintain independent and healthy lives; and Ride-Health/American Cancer Society, helping to transport patients to their cancer treatment and medical appointments with extra care.
One challenge Kanaan has faced in growing his company has been keeping up with the demand for Envoy America’s services. With new partnerships comes increased demand for additional Driver Companions to drive seniors and patients to and from their appointments. However, with rapid expansion, Kanaan has refused to compromise on quality. He says it is extremely important to hire Driver Companions his clients can trust and who will keep his clients safe.
To help with recruitment and hiring of Driver Companions in new and expanding markets, Kanaan began working with Work Stream, a company that helps with recruitment, screening and hiring. Through the platform, he has applicants go through a 12-stage vetting process that ensures they are the best fit for serving Envoy America clients. The process includes a thorough background screening, drug test, Office of the Inspector General check, and review of any history of a poor driving record, sexual misconduct, elder abuse and fraud. The platform also ensures applicants complete an online training before they are put through a hands-on training. Out of the 18,000 applications Envoy America has received over the last six months, fewer than 10 percent of applicants have gone on to be hired as a Driver Companion.
“We are thrilled that we were able to find a solution to help us hire a large number of Driver Companions while adhering to our strict quality standards,” says Kanaan. “With these systems in place, we are looking forward to continuing our expansion plans in the coming months.”
As the country’s population continues to age, many cite the “silver tsunami” of seniors who will need more customized services like the kind Envoy America provides. While Kanaan sees this trend as an opportunity for his company to further grow and expand, he also sees it as an opportunity to help more seniors maintain healthy and independent lives.
STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS ENABLE GROWTH
Envoy America has rapidly grown its operations throughout the country by securing strategic partnerships with organizations and companies that benefit from its services, including:
- AMR’s Access2Care program, which manages the transportation experience for those receiving a non emergency medical transportation in various states.
- Marquee senior care communities across the country, helping seniors maintain independent and healthy lives.
- Ride-Health/American Cancer Society, helping to transport patients to their cancer treatment and medical appointments with extra care to accommodate busy schedules.
[Did You Know: Transportation is often identified as one of the top challenges for seniors and their families. Seniors who don’t drive make 15 percent fewer trips to the doctor, along with 59 percent fewer trips to shop or eat out, and 65 percent fewer trips to see friends and family.]