Private Duty Home Care Agencies Should Transition to EVV Now, Not Later

Smiling caregiver in green scrubs holding a mobile tablet device
Private duty home care agencies are not required to use electronic visit verification (EVV), but they should as a best practice to enhance accountability, maintain accurate billing and payroll, and provide required documentation for long-term care insurance companies.

When the 21st Century Cures Act was rolled out in 2016, it mandated the use of electronic visit verification, more commonly known as EVV, for home care agencies that bill Medicaid for personal care services. While private duty agencies tend to prefer the use of telephony and were not originally required to implement EVV, it is very likely that the EVV mandate will extend to those types of agencies in the near future.

In addition to an inevitable mandate, the use of EVV software for private duty home care agencies is a recommended practice that should be prioritized for businesses seeking to achieve their goals.  Those goals could range from a desire to manage the agency more efficiently, to providing more care services to your clients, taking better care of your staff, or to growing and expanding your business.

With all of that in mind, the question is, why is homecare management software a necessary solution for private pay agencies? Here are three important reasons:

  • Accountability

At a bare minimum, agencies should be concerned about accountability. Confirming work has been performed properly and above board should be an important metric for any organization. Home care agencies should want to ensure that their caregivers are where they need to be when they’re supposed to be there. EVV is the tool that helps document those important clock-ins and clock-outs, providing a digital record that the caregiver was at the client’s residence. 

  • Billing and Payroll

Electronic Visit Verification is a fundamental tool for maintaining accurate billing and payroll. In short, EVV allows a home care agency to determine how much time is worked. The process is very simple, and without it, agencies are forced to rely on manual processes including paper timesheets, the memories of busy caregivers, etc., to make sure their billing information is accurate and reflects proper payroll disbursements. When agencies utilize EVV, those processes and procedures are all wrapped up nicely in the shift verification process, saving agencies an enormous amount of time and energy which they can then focus on other duties. 

  • Long-term Care Insurance

While not all private duty home care agencies deal with long-term care insurance companies, many of their patients are billing those insurance companies directly, and those companies require some form of EVV. At Rosemark System, we’ve found that many of our private pay agencies eventually end up taking on long-term care clients, and inevitably, when that occurs, the agency is left scrambling to figure out how to initiate and set up EVV. 

The Customer Care Team at Rosemark System recommends setting up electronic visit verification ahead of time so that down the road when the agency makes the decision to work with a client who does require EVV, they are prepared for it and the transition is quick and painless.

In addition to long-term care insurance, many private pay home care agencies tend to (or should) take clients with benefits from the Veterans Administration (VA). Based on what we’ve seen from the 21st Century Cures Act, EVV will eventually be a requirement for VA benefits clients as well as other federal programs, so that’s just one more reason to transition to EVV sooner rather than later.

Electronic Visit Verification in essence is about making sure home care agencies can justify their billing by showing that a caregiver was with the client for the allotted number of hours for which the client, the VA, or the long-term care insurance company is being billed. It’s much easier to send an invoice for services rendered when the agency has full control over and access to that accurate information in the form of EVV.

 

Robust and Customizable Reporting Tools for EVV

Any good home care management software should provide EVV capabilities, as well as robust and customizable reporting. With the Rosemark System, our Customer Care Team can do a survey of any EVV event by day, date range, by caregiver or client, or by some combination of those criteria. 

Our team can generate reports that show distance issues for caregivers that are way outside their preferred distance range. The surveys can show that a caregiver is where they should be or help determine if there are location inaccuracies on a client’s residence with GPS (global positioning system) that need to be addressed.

The Task Report shows the combination of EVV-related data (such as clock-ins/outs, distance, etc.) and tasks the caregiver is logging for that specific shift. This report lets agencies see whatever date range they want. It totals up verified shift hours as well as EVV duration of shifts in question, so agencies can see the difference between scheduled shifts versus EVV duration. 

The Task Report also shows the signatures of caregivers and clients if those are required, and it lets agencies do a survey of the job the caregiver is doing. These reports can be sorted by client, caregiver, or chronologically by shift.

In the case of private pay agencies, it’s not uncommon for caregivers to clock in early and/or late for a shift. The Task Report is extremely useful in those instances where the agency is billing a client for a shift of 9 am to 1 pm; however, the EVV duration was 4 hours and 20 minutes instead of 4 hours. 

If the situation becomes repetitive and the office notes the continued billing of 4 hours does not match the 4 hours and 20 minutes of EVV time continually being logged, staff can then determine whether the caregiver needs to be retrained on specific tasks to speed up their processes, whether more time with the client is necessary to accomplish assigned tasks, or whether or not there is an issue with the shift change from one caregiver to another. 

Another helpful tool for private pay agencies is the Assignment Timesheet Report. A timesheet is traditionally used for billing purposes and shows a one-week snapshot of what was done for a specific client. It contains a lot of information on everything done for that client during the week, including: 

  • Showing all shifts a client had with their caregivers
  • Completed tasks
  • Signatures collected
  • Comments made on assigned tasks

For Rosemark System customers, the training hosted by the Customer Care Team every Thursday includes some discussion on Tasks and Assignment Timesheet Reports.

 

Transitioning to Electronic Visit Verification

It might seem daunting, but transitioning to EVV doesn’t have to be hard. And keep in mind how much time and money you’ll save in the long run by incorporating EVV into your daily workflow.

While some agencies have become comfortable with their manual processes because “that’s the way it’s always been done,” that doesn’t mean there isn’t a better, more efficient way of doing business. Transitioning to EVV is simply a matter of refining your processes and cutting down on unnecessary paperwork and time to save your agency money, pay your caregivers better, and continue to grow your business effectively. 

The best way to transition into using EVV is to start with just one or two caregivers, develop your process, work through any questions or issues that might arise at the beginning, and then add more caregivers as you feel more comfortable with the EVV software.

Relying on your home care software provider’s Customer Care Team is an essential part of learning how to use and implement electronic visit verification. Someone should be helping your agency roll out EVV, answering questions that come up along the way, and providing the support your company needs as it adjusts to a new and improved way of doing business. If your home care software provider isn’t doing those things, you should really ask why.

EVV is the most difficult part of the job because it’s the most important part. The home care industry is quickly moving into a world where EVV will be required for all types of agencies in just a few short years, so start the transition now and begin putting those good habits into practice.

If you are interested in learning more about how Rosemark can help your home care agency transition from manual processes to EVV, contact us today or give us a call at (734) 436-2631 to schedule a free consultation.

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