Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) will be required in most states by Jan. 1, 2021, and there is a lot that home health care agencies, as well as personal care providers, must do in the meantime to prepare before the deadline strikes.
There are two types of EVV models for a state: open and closed. Closed states offer a state-procured EVV solution which all providers must use for visits governed by the mandate. Although this eliminates the complexity of selecting a vendor, the one-size-fits-all solution can present implementation challenges for providers.
The overwhelming majority of states are implementing open EVV, which grants agencies leeway to choose their own technology solution. Agencies that deliver services in multiple states must be able to meet the unique requirements for each state in which they operate; however, implementing different EVV solutions by state would be cumbersome.
In order to choose the best EVV solution and prepare for a smooth implementation, agencies must consider the complexity of their compliance environment, the complexity of their current operation and the needs of both caregivers and administrative staff.
Here are three considerations, therefore, that agency leaders delivering care in open states should follow to best prepare for a smooth EVV implementation.
Consider the complexity of your compliance environment
EVV requirements are complicated. Requirements vary within states depending on the payer, and they vary state to state. So an agency operating in either multiple states, or with multiple payers, or a combination of the two, faces uniquely complex challenges on the road to compliance.
Therefore, the first step for an agency in an open model is to understand the compliance environment.
“If the agency can understand the complexity of their compliance environment as a starting point … that is one datapoint that they have that will help them figure out the best solution to support them as they move forward with compliance,” says EVV expert Courtney Martin of CellTrak.
Martin asserts that technology should make the road to compliance more efficient for the agency, not add complexity. For example, an agency that bills to multiple payers would be burdened by adopting different EVV solutions based on each payer. Rather than training staff on multiple solutions, they would benefit from considering EVV technology that can work in any open state for any payer.
By contrast, an agency that only delivers services on behalf of a single, state payer might find it feasible to adopt a state-procured solution for compliance.
Another factor can be the number of services an agency offers that are affected by the EVV mandate. An agency that delivers primarily personal care services, for example, may need to use EVV to support the majority of their visits, while a hospice agency that does 10 percent of its work in personal care might be much less affected.
In this scenario, the high volume of EVV-mandated visits might necessitate a technology solution that minimizes manual work for the agency, versus a small volume of visits that might open up the option to employ a more standard, off-the-shelf solution.
When home health providers have a complete understanding of the complexity of their requirements, they will be able to make an informed decision around their EVV vendor.
Consider interoperability with both agency systems and state aggregators
Finding an EVV solution that enables compliance without adding complexity is easier said than done. Interoperability plays a key role in whether an EVV system is right for a given provider, and there are two areas of necessary interoperability: with agency systems such as an EHR, and with the state system such as an aggregator.
First, the system should be interoperable with the agency’s electronic health records (EHR). Agencies must ask themselves: “How flexible is that solution to work with the systems I have in place at the agency?” The goal, Martin says, is to find an EVV solution that does not require changing much of what you already have in place.
The second area of interoperability is with the state system, or the multiple state systems. The EVV system must be able to collect patient data and then send that data to the payer, or multiple payers. Interoperability in the context of EVV means being able to achieve both of those responsibilities in a flexible way.
Deliver easy-to-use technology for caregivers and administrators
There are many benefits to EVV beyond just compliance, and understanding all of the potential benefits is another motivating factor to agencies to take a proactive approach to finding their EVV vendor.
These benefits might be logistical in nature, such as improved communication between caregivers and schedulers. They might solve staffing problems, since removing the challenges inherent to EVV implementation and compliance will make for a happier staff and improve retention. There are also benefits around patient care and outcomes, since EVV is at its core designed to deliver top outcomes and experiences for patients and their families.
But none of these benefits are possible if caregivers find the technology itself too difficult to use, or if agencies struggle to implement it, Martin says. Agencies must make EVV easy for caregivers, and one key piece of that is delivering it through mobile technology.
“Mobile is the gold standard,” she says.
Consider EVV solutions that are integrated with your existing systems, easy for staff to use and minimize unnecessary changes to your existing workflow. Opt for flexibility in implementation, and leave plenty of time for testing and training. Rewards will be plenty — most importantly for your patients and staff.
To learn more about how CellTrak can help you navigate EVV in 2020 and beyond, visit CellTrak’s EVV state map to understand what is happening in your state — and stay tuned for more on EVV at HHCN from CellTrak.