This article is sponsored by Viventium. In this Voices Interview, Home Health Care News sits down with Julieann Esper Rainville, Chief Executive Officer, Viventium, to talk about the key trends, challenges, and opportunities providers should be watching in the home-based care space. She delves into the regulatory compliance challenges in particular and offers solutions that providers can leverage to navigate this changing landscape, and she also explains how Viventium can help.
Home Health Care News: What career experiences do you most draw from in your role today?
Julieann Esper Rainville: For many years, I worked on the clinical side of software for the health care industry. The main users of our software were the frontline workers that care for the most vulnerable populations in our country — those with disabilities or chronic conditions — and our elderly. During COVID, I was struck by the dedication of these caregivers. They put their hearts — and frankly their lives — out there every day to care for others.
One of my deepest passions is how we give back to these individuals — how do we provide care for the caregivers themselves? That is what Viventium is focused on and why I am so dedicated to our mission.
What are some industry challenges and market conditions in home care, home health, and hospice you pay the closest attention to?
When you meet with the industry and ask them their top three problems, they say it is 1) Staffing, 2) Staffing, and 3) Staffing. The big challenge in this industry is caregiver recruitment and retention, and according to the 2023 Home Care Pulse Benchmarking Report, turnover in 2022 was 77.1% — its worst since 2018. Many of the other challenges agencies face, such as providing sufficient training programs, improving caregiver recognition, and offering greater financial flexibility and transparency, all relate back to recruitment and retention. Viventium is constantly on the lookout for ways we can assist agencies with such issues as well as with effectively onboarding, training, and accurately paying their employees.
Compliance in the home care, home health, and hospice industry is another main challenge that we at Viventium know all too well, and accurately calculating pay and providing employees with easy access to their payroll information also affects retention. There are numerous nuances to taxation and payroll laws that differ by state, and agencies must be on top of these ever-changing rules in addition to federal compliance requirements. Too many agency administrators spend time wrestling with manual spreadsheets or software solutions that lack the automated ability to accommodate this entanglement of laws. Unfortunately, this results in wasted time that should be spent on what administrators do best: providing proactive support for their home care services. Over the last three decades, Viventium has built a compliant suite of HCM products, including onboarding, payroll, HR, benefits administration, and ACA, that help us ensure our clients’ caregivers are accurately supported in an automated, compliant manner.
Let’s lean more into home-based care industry compliance challenges you alluded to. Can you provide specific examples of some of these?
There is a myriad of regulations that affect the health care industry on the federal, state, and local levels to choose from. At the federal level, employers must be on top of the various FLSA overtime provisions, making sure hours are tracked accurately and overtime is paid correctly. Employees may be paid at different rates for different types of work, and overtime must be paid at a blended or weighted average rate. In addition, we often see retroactive pay coming into place, where worked hours are reported late. In this scenario, overtime must be calculated based on hours paid in the period that the overtime was earned, not when it is paid.
On the state level, many states (including California and New York) have passed 7th day or daily overtime pay rules, requiring overtime or even double time to be paid. Some states, such as New York, have wage parity requirements, where employers must track and pay employees additional and supplemental benefits beyond an employee’s base wage.
Additionally, many states have wage theft prevention laws with varying pay stub disclosure requirements, so the pay stub is never one-size-fits-all across the country. Alluding back to the importance of retention and employee trust in employers, the last thing you want is for a disgruntled employee to register a complaint with a state department of labor for inadequate pay stub disclosures. No one welcomes a labor investigation nor fines for non-disclosure upon audit.
And lastly, a big item on the local level is local taxation, which can get complex in several states, such as Pennsylvania and Ohio. It is critically important that every employee has the correct tax setup when they begin their employment with an agency so their taxes and net pay calculations are accurate and complete.
How does Viventium help agencies address these compliance challenges?
This is at the core of what Viventium delivers to our health care clients via our software solutions. Complex calculations are automated to support the compliance nuances of the health care industry, and we couple that with a team of experts to provide expert guidance to the industry. In this way, we help clients achieve their business goals, such as improving caregiver retention and their bottom lines.
For example, our system automatically handles retroactive pay and overtime calculations, determining regular and overtime wages associated with each respective pay period (commonly due to late reporting). Additionally, Viventium streamlines compliance with FLSA guidelines by utilizing blended rate calculations for those employees who are paid using multiple rates (overtime premium and blended rates). Our Geo Tax location feature simplifies payroll, automatically determining the correct taxes based on employee work location and residence. Our Onboarding module provides all new hires with the ability to complete the required new hire paperwork in an easy-to-use and compliant manner, including digitizing our clients’ employee handbooks and guiding their employees through the Form I-9. Those documents are then automatically stored in the employee’s profile, ensuring compliance with document retention requirements. These are just a few examples of Viventium simplifying compliance challenges.
Capabilities of our products aside, we have in-house experts who live and breathe this ever-changing world, and they are there to guide our clients. We constantly host webinars and publish blogs, white papers, e-books, and more on all these topics to keep clients and the health care market up to speed. I recommend downloading our Home-Based Care Syllabus, which is a roundup and highlight reel of our most-informative home care content and can be found in the Insights section on our website linked below.
Tell me about the history of Viventium. How did Viventium become a payroll and HR software solution built for home care, home health, and hospice?
For over 30 years, Viventium has served the needs of the human capital management marketplace. Health care has always been one of our primary markets, and our product development efforts have been driven by the requirements of complex markets, especially the post-acute sector. As we enhanced our software platform with new features and functionalities, we noticed a growing interest from home care and home health agencies. The appeal of our proprietary software led us to make a strategic decision to concentrate exclusively on serving the post-acute care market. By immersing ourselves in this sector over many years, we have gained an in-depth understanding of its unique needs. This comprehension, combined with our ability to create a purpose-built platform to address these specific requirements, has propelled us to become the leading provider of payroll and human capital management solutions for thousands of health care clients and their employees. We take great pride in supporting the health care industry and remain committed to delivering exceptional software solutions tailored to its demands and the remarkable service that our clients deserve.
Where do you see home care technology headed in the next five years?
I wish I had a crystal ball for this one, but a few things come to mind. First, there is a growing need to leverage solutions that address the hiring and retention of health care workers. This might take several forms, including more effectively onboarding new hires, integrating workflows to avoid duplicate work, and helping administrators be more productive in ensuring ongoing payroll compliance in an increasingly complex regulatory environment. Second, I believe we will see further advancements in remote patient monitoring. The ability to monitor vital signs, medication adherence, and other health metrics will support the continued migration toward home health. Lastly, I expect to see AI-powered personalized care play a more significant role in home care to enhance the overall quality of care for individuals receiving home-based services.
In a couple of words, finish this sentence: “In 2023, the home-based care industry is being defined by…?”
…continued challenges forcing an increase in automated, innovative solutions.
Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Viventium provides a SaaS-based human capital management solution that is focused on the post-acute care industry. The company’s mission is to enrich the lives of caregivers through technology so they love going to work every day. By providing specialized software and expert guidance, Viventium helps its clients throughout the lifecycle of each caregiver. The company has clients in all 50 states and supports over 420,000 client employees each year. For more information about Viventium, visit https://www.viventium.com
The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends, topics, and more shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact [email protected].