With the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016, electronic visit verification (EVV) became an important, and at times controversial, topic of national conversation. Two years later, the dialogue around EVV and its potential has progressed immensely. However, some stakeholders have lingering questions and concerns about this technology.
As an ally to many organizations in the home health industry, we feel it's our duty to allay fears and debunk myths about EVV. Here are five, common misconceptions we've encountered in the field, and how our unique approach to EVV addresses them.
1. "The implementation process is long and difficult."
Often, stakeholders who voice this concern are familiar with Ohio's rocky EVV rollout. Met with a "firestorm" of complaints, patients and providers reported interface bugs, poor communication, and poor timing – issues which can be easily avoided by partnering with an experienced vendor that understands EVV best practices. In other words, the precedent set by Ohio cannot be generalized to all states, vendors, and systems. With careful planning and proactive communication, the implementation process does not have to be painful or prolonged.
2. "EVV technology is expensive."
While the up-front cost of adopting an EVV system can be sizable, the return on investment far exceeds the cost of the program. At a minimum, EVV will protect patients. Done right, EVV can virtually eliminate improper payments. The best part? States can apply for federal reimbursement to cover 90 percent of the money spent to design, develop, and install an EVV system. A 75 percent match in federal funding is available for the operation and maintenance of the system.
3. "It's just another tracking device that violates my rights."
Privacy concerns are rampant in the digital age, and rightly so. However, HealthStar's secure EVV system, HealthStar Visit, only records information while the patient is receiving care. Here's how it works.
When a caregiver arrives for a patient visit, they will check in on a patient-assigned tablet device. During the visit, the caregiver will receive periodic prompts to reconfirm their location. After the visit is over, the caregiver will check out on the tablet device. Once the caregiver checks out of the visit, the patient will receive and complete a survey about the visit through their tablet device. During this process, HealthStar Visit collects the following data points: the identity of the caregiver, the date and location of the patient visit, the time the visit begins and ends, and the identity of the patient receiving the care. If these data points correctly align with the patient's plan of care, a claim is generated automatically and independently of the caregiver's submissions. No patient data is stored on the device, and no protected health information is transmitted by the device. The patient’s privacy is always protected.
4. "This device takes away my independence."
It's understandable why a patient might be suspicious of the added oversight EVV systems provide to payers and states. However, it's important to make the distinction between verification and surveillance. Far from rendering the patient a "prisoner" in their own home, HealthStar's EVV ensures the safety and satisfaction of patients who prefer to receive care from the comfort of their home. Without EVV, it is impossible to replicate the safety and certainty of a traditional clinical setting.
At HealthStar, we caution patients and payers to "trust, but verify." For the caregiver, EVV does increase administrative oversight. But for the patient, EVV functions as a safeguard against abuse and neglect. The fundamental goal of EVV is to ensure the right caregiver is treating the right patient in the correct place at the correct time.
5. "There is plenty of time to decide when to implement."
Per the Cures Act, states have until January 2020 to implement EVV for personal care services or face escalating reductions in FMAP funding. However, there are many advantages to early adoption. Providers would have more time to familiarize themselves with the software. Plus, caregiver agencies would no longer have to use a clearinghouse or employ additional office resources for billing because of HealthStar Visit's automatic claims feature. Payers and states would immediately begin to see a decline in systemic fraud and waste. And most importantly, patients would gain an added layer of protection against fraud and abuse, thereby increasing the quality and consistency of care. Late adoption, on the other hand, increases the likelihood of administration and rollout issues similar to those observed in Ohio.
Still have questions? Interested in learning more about HealthStar's trusted EVV Solution and why we're different from other vendors? Let's talk. We'd love to share our experience and insights with you.