FreedomCare's Facial Recognition Technology Combats Healthcare Fraud

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y.--()--Fighting fraud? There's now an app for that—and it's poised to transform the healthcare industry.

FreedomCare is New York’s leading organization for the Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP)—known nationally as self-directed care. This revolutionary home healthcare program has transformed the lives of over 35,000 sick or elderly New Yorkers by allowing them to hire anyone they choose—a family member, friend, or prior aide—to provide their day-to-day home care.

As with many healthcare programs, however, fraud presents a challenge, one that has stumped government officials and regulatory bodies for years—until now. FreedomCare recently unveiled an app that uses cutting-edge facial recognition technology to prevent users from abusing self-directed care.

“It’s a great program and it’s got to be used by the right people, for the right reasons,” says Yoel Gabay, CEO of FreedomCare, a statewide operation headquartered on Long Island. “We sat down and asked ourselves: how can we accurately verify that the caregiver was actually with the patient at the appropriate times?”

Gabay, a passionate millennial whose 100+ person team is the only in-person self-directed care organization covering all 62 counties of New York State, is driven by a fierce belief in the program’s ability to improve health outcomes and is determined to maintain its integrity. To achieve this, he hired a team of developers to build an app that allows caregivers and patients to verify their identities within seconds using instant facial recognition and geolocation.

“The technology is incredibly smart,” says Benjamin Wolf, Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel at FreedomCare. “It insists on a perfect match—lookalikes will not make the cut—and it recognizes if a photo is being used in place of a real person. There is no room for games.”

News of the technology has already created a stir in the healthcare world: multiple national insurance plans—including Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, EmblemHealth, WellCare, Fidelis (a subsidiary of Centene), and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (Anthem)—have contracted with FreedomCare, recognizing the powerful opportunity to leverage the new app to reduce fraud.

“Technology doesn’t improve by itself; it takes teams of people, working together,” says Ryan Hofman, Director of Technology at FreedomCare. “This app is a great achievement and raises the standard for our industry. We will continue to challenge ourselves to raise the bar through technology and innovation.”

Funded by Medicaid, self-directed care is based on the belief that consumers deserve the freedom to choose their own caregivers. In recent years, the program has become increasingly popular, largely due to a serious home aide shortage and to new, specialized agencies that facilitate what was previously a frustrating, bureaucratic process. With the baby boomers now well into their seventies, and not enough people to care for them, the program has become more vital than ever, especially in rural areas where public transportation is nonexistent.

But besides the obvious benefits to patients, the program also saves the state an estimated $150 million dollars each year: according to the NYS Department of Health, self-directed care services are $2.80 less expensive per hour than traditional home care.

What’s more, as numerous peer-reviewed studies have shown, self-directed care is more effective in preventing costly hospitalizations and readmissions. One study found, over a three-year period, 18% fewer nursing admissions for patients using a consumer-directed model relative to the traditional home care agency model.

“Self-directed care is an amazing program that has turned entire families around,” Gabay says. “We get calls from emotional, grateful consumers on a near-daily basis. By reducing the possibility of fraud, we are ensuring that this program can continue to change lives.”

To learn more about FreedomCare’s new app, or to connect with FreedomCare’s team, call 718.989.9768 or visit


Hilary Lyons, 212-235-6205

Release Summary

Fighting fraud? There's now an app for that—and it's poised to transform the healthcare industry.


Hilary Lyons, 212-235-6205