January 1, 2023: Meeting the 21st Century Cures Act EVV Compliance Deadline
Electronic Visit Verification has become an integral part of the homecare industry. The method helps to ensure members are getting the attention and assistance they need by verifying that the planned caregiving visits are, in fact, taking place. Homecare workers help members by administering medicine, providing company, and assisting with everyday tasks such as walking, bathing, dressing and preparing meals. The importance of EVV to monitor these visits cannot be underestimated, so it’s no surprise that the measure was one of the issues earning front-and-center placement in the 21st Century Cures Act, going from “encouraged” to “mandatory.” When the law was enacted by the U.S. government in 2016, the idea was to eliminate bureaucratic obstacles that result in members waiting too long for treatment and advanced cures, among other things. It was drafted to help progress the development of drugs and medical devices, expedite disease research, raise mental health service standards, and to ease regulatory and administrative burdens associated with the use of electronic health systems and health information technology.
An act this comprehensive in nature could not be implemented all at once, so various compliance deadlines were set for different phases of the new legislation. So far, two implementation phases have begun – one on April 5, 2021 regarding information blocking provisions, and another on Oct. 6, 2022, expanding the definition of “electronic health information” so that it applies to a broader range of data. Subsequently, the complexity of requests for member records increased, as did the amount of information that may be released to payers.
As part of that second phase, as of January 1, 2023, states will be required to implement electronic visit verification (EVV) for Medicaid-financed home health care services to avoid a reduction in federal Medicaid funding. Adherence to this rule helps to ensure that home health care workers arrive on the job and complete the approved tasks. However, the law doesn’t provide detailed implementation guidance, leaving states with tremendous freedom to use their own designs and technologies, or even build on existing systems. On the surface, the flexibility may seem nice. However, the many benefits of EVV – such as incentivized timeliness, record accuracy, and online security – combined with the looming deadline, make this an ideal time to consider implementing an innovative, fully integrated homecare management solution that seamlessly connects the entire homecare ecosystem in real-time. Utilizing a platform of this nature has many benefits outside of legal compliance, such as increases in efficiency and productivity, streamlined workflows, and greater visibility and insights by all parties, resulting in better member outcomes.
Leveraging the Right Homecare Technology to Simplify Compliance
Homecare aides already work tirelessly to help ensure better outcomes for their members, making observations and noting changes in condition, as well as social determinants of health, administering medication, and assisting with everyday personal tasks. Their commitment is apparent in the jobs they perform; equipping them with the tools to make those duties easier – while complying with the Cures Act – will help to ensure their long-term retention. Information gathering and documentation may be required but, thankfully, there are ways to ensure they don’t add extra time or stress to an employee’s workday. Electronic visit verification information does the most good when it’s organized and secure, having been formatted and uploaded through a reliable platform for storage and easy accessibility.
HHAeXchange’s fully integrated homecare management software does just that – connecting payers, providers, and caregivers seamlessly through its web-based platform, enabling better transparency, efficiency, and compliance while reducing fraud.
For additional ease of use, EVV systems should be integrated across providers (both personal care service agencies and skilled health care agencies), financial management service entities, and managed care plans. Otherwise, a lack of access to detailed visit data could lead to waste, fraud, and abuse; overpayments; inability to maintain compliance; and failure to provide members with the services they need. The ideal EVV software will mirror the homecare ecosystem by connecting all stakeholders through a single platform. This provides visibility and transparency and makes it easier to monitor the performance of provider networks and ensure quality of member care.
Healthcare’s Shift to Value-Based Care
At a time when the healthcare landscape – homecare in particular – is focused heavily on member experiences and needs, EVV has entered the scene as an enormous driver for the member-centric approach. What the technology accomplishes is, ultimately, helping to guarantee that people are seen and reacted to – whether that’s rescheduling a visit because of a delay, providing extra support when needed, serving as a way to report concerns, or keeping the lines of communication open between caregivers and their agency. EVV has prompted a shift in the homecare landscape largely by conveying a homecare aide’s good work to agency leaders, who can then be certain the focus is on value-based care. When states utilize comprehensive platforms with 21st Century Cures Act provisions in mind, payers then have the added benefit of being able to move providers along the value-based care continuum. Encouraging caregivers to focus on preventative care and not just treatment leads to better outcomes for members, fewer hospitalizations and treatments, and an overall reduction in the cost of care.
This is essentially the objective of the 21st Century Cures Act – to bring new medical products and innovations to members who need them faster and more efficiently, in hopes of establishing a healthier population, i.e. better outcomes. It takes a village to help get everyone impacted by the Act across that compliance finish line. Payers, providers, IT professionals, administrators, researchers, manufacturers, and members alike are all impacted by this legislation and must do their parts to see that it is fully enacted on schedule and, right now, that means staying on track with EVV compliance deadlines. HHAeXchange is proud to play a role in those efforts by providing software and web-based platforms that can help all involved meet their individual goals and compliance requirements while keeping member care at the forefront – where it belongs.
To learn more about our innovative EVV solution, or for additional tips on how to meet 21st Century Cures Act compliance deadlines, visit us online at hhaexchange.com and follow our team on social media.