What is Electronic Visit Verification?
There’s a lot of talk these days about electronic visit verification (EVV). How does it work? Why is it necessary? What’s the purpose? Do all home care agencies require their caregivers to use EVV?
Let’s start with the requirements. Unlike Medicare, every state is able to set its own guidelines for Medicaid. These guidelines vary state-to-state but include the following options:
- State-mandated software that must be used by all home care agencies
- State-assigned aggregators that pass the agencies’ data on to Medicaid for reimbursement
- A hybrid model where agencies are allowed to use whichever third-party home care software they choose as long as it integrates with the state aggregator
- An open model where agencies are allowed to choose a third-party software provider and there is no state aggregator. Eventually, all states will require an aggregator.
Since these regulations are all over the place, it’s important for home care agencies to check with their state’s EVV department or state home care association to find out exactly what their state-specific guidelines are.
EVV for Caregiver Accountability
While EVV is a highly debated topic, the benefits to home care agencies using EVV for caregiver management are immense. Having a way for caregivers to be accountable for their time and work is essential for agencies that want to be reimbursed by Medicaid on time and in full.
EVV provides data that confirms a caregiver’s location at the time of clock-in and clock-out. Caregivers sometimes have concerns about their privacy when using a mobile app for EVV, especially about allowing location permissions. The caregiver’s location is only transmitted when clocking in or out of a shift. It’s just like clocking in or out at a physical location that requires employees to punch a card in a time card machine.
Who Does EVV Protect?
When serving a vulnerable community including clients with dementia or other cognitive impairments, EVV acts as an objective safeguard to confirm care was delivered at the desired location and time. The use of EVV for caregiver accountability helps cut down on tension within the agency and between the agency and clients because the EVV allows caregivers to prove they were where they were supposed to be at the appropriate time.
This is a major reason home care management software with EVV functionality is such an important tool for both agencies and caregivers. It protects everyone involved by providing GPS data that backs up a caregiver’s claim that they were at the client’s home and performed the necessary tasks assigned to them.
It’s All About the Data
Agency management can be a difficult balance of trusting caregivers while keeping them accountable. This might make it difficult for agency owners or administrators to determine which story to believe if they are hearing conflicting accounts from the caregiver and the client. Fortunately, data provided by EVV has no bias, serving only to present what actually occurred. Having this information can cut to the chase and provide clear answers for agencies.
Reports from home care management software can help agencies see a variety of data that can really help them operate their agencies better. For example, data can help agencies determine if a caregiver is clocking in 5 feet from the client’s home or half a mile away because they’re running late.
In this day and age, when finding caregivers is not an easy task, agencies are understandably hesitant to let go of any caregivers, even if they know that person isn’t doing the best job they could be doing or if there is a pattern of no-shows or excessive tardiness.
For agency owners and administrators, EVV for caregiver accountability can go a step further in helping them determine whether keeping a caregiver on staff is helping or hurting them. There are reports agencies can pull from their software that can help identify caregivers having difficulty complying with EVV requirements. This data can help agencies determine which caregivers are valuable assets in need of additional training and who might not be the right fit for the position.
EVV data also helps assess what issues may be affected by factors other than caregiver behavior. For example, agencies might be able to identify instances where a caregiver who is otherwise always on time and in the correct location consistently has issues at a particular client’s residence. That specific issue could be because the GPS coordinates are incorrect or because
the home is in a very remote location with little to no cell coverage. This data can then help the agency troubleshoot and resolve the problem or determine if Offline Mode would be beneficial at specific client homes.
Agencies need to keep their caregivers accountable, but in turn, caregivers need proper training to perform their duties. For that reason, EVV training needs to be part of the caregiver onboarding process. If agencies are not fully training their caregivers in the use of EVV – how it works, why it’s necessary, and that it does not infringe on their privacy – it’s easy to see how a caregiver could become complacent with utilizing the tool.
Tasks in EVV
As mentioned above, when it comes to Medicaid each state is tasked with setting up its own rules and regulations. Missouri is one example where a state has incorporated Tasks into its EVV regulations for home care, and shifts on some service types cannot be sent to the aggregator without completed tasks.
Even in states where Tasks are not required for EVV, it’s still a great feature that cuts down on paperwork and helps caregivers keep track of what tasks were accomplished during a given shift. For example, using the Tasks feature can help agencies determine if caregivers are given adequate time to see to client needs. It could also alert the agency to a situation where one specific caregiver needs additional training to complete some specific tasks, as other caregivers at that location with the same list are able to complete it during their shift.
While EVV is not a perfect system, it is much better than paper forms that can get lost or filled out late when a caregiver might have forgotten what was done at a specific time or location. It’s important to remember that EVV is ultimately a tool to safeguard both the caregiver and the agency from false accusations, to ensure the client is getting the care they deserve, and that the government is paying for the appropriate amount of hours worked.
To learn more about EVV and how home care management software can help you streamline your day-to-day operations, reach out to us today at 734-662-3537 option 2 or fill out the form below.