by Tom Underwood
Few businesses like the government telling them what to do or how to do it. That’s true in health care, as much as anywhere else. Most rules and regulations are well intentioned, designed to protect patients, and are beneficial to the industry. Others seem to be created by bureaucrats who enjoy random acts of burdensome paperwork.
Regardless which category the new electronic visit verification (EVV) rule falls, one thing is for sure: The EVV mandate is here and it’s not going away. Consequently, home care agency executives have three choices: 1. Fight it; 2. Embrace it; or 3. Move to a Caribbean island. Unless the flight has already been booked, we at Sandata believe EVV should be embraced, and by doing so, home care providers can drive incremental and quantifiable business value. And we’re willing to give readers six tips – which either maximize revenue or reduce costs – and therefore make it easier to love your EVV system.
Tip 1: Filling Missed Visits
Even if the federal government didn’t require EVV, it’s valuable for home care agencies to know when your caregivers are arriving and leaving – and more importantly, when you might be missing a visit entirely. Even the best employees have issues from time to time, and the best patient schedulers make mistakes. EVV systems allow office managers an opportunity to catch issues via real-time alerts and to fill the missed visit quickly.
Tip 2: Be ready for the future: Capture Health Status Changes
Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) are increasingly expecting home care providers to capture and communicate health status changes of their members in real time. EVV systems provide caregivers the tools to easily communicate changes in a patients’ status, enabling the agency to request authorization changes which allow for a patient to receive more appropriate care, avoid costly acute care utilizations, and remain in their home, thus bringing in additional revenues.
Tip 3: Be ready for the future, part 2: Value-based Payment Models
Value-based payment models will continue to gain traction with MCOs, and home care agencies can use EVV to benefit from it. EVV software is a primary way to capture real time data in the home, and in fact, home care providers are going to have a hard time participating in the value-based payment models without capturing critical data at the point of care, which then allows for measuring outcomes and progress, sharing information with other providers and adjusting to the data.
Tip 4: Efficiencies in Scheduling, Claims, Billing and Authorization
EVV applications in the field can eliminate a great deal of paperwork required to support caregivers. Aside from automatically creating time stamps on when caregivers arrive and leave, the solution allows for the ability to record visit tasks, which saves time and eliminates the paper work associated with filling out time sheets or duty sheets. Workflow efficiencies are also gained by eliminating the time associated with printing, mailing, scanning, and storing paper documents. This access to real time data allows for daily billing (if desired) and no longer leaves the billing process dependent upon the paper being returned to the office. Additionally, the EVV system can ensure services rendered are authorized, and even prompt caregivers to provide services that are included in the Plan of Care.
Tip 5: Streamlining Payroll for Caregivers
Paper-based timesheets are the bane of just about any employee who has to deal with them, whether it’s filling them out or recording them. EVV – by its very nature – creates major cost efficiencies here for caregivers and agencies. Each visit verified through the EVV application provides a digital record of the hours a caregiver has worked, the number of visits made, and time in-between visits. The data can easily be funneled into the agency’s payroll system, expediting payment, and the recording of all the associated information daily vs having to rely on a weekly timecard to be provided into the office.
Tip 6: Improve Standing as Employer of Choice, Lowering Retention and Training Costs
The less paperwork a home care agency requires from its caregivers, the more timely and accurate the data is. The downstream effect also delivers a positive improvement on cash flow for the agency. Caregivers don’t have to worry about missing a payroll run because of late documentation, which also leads to better agency/employee relations, lower turnover, and less recruitment and training costs for the human resources departments.
Aside from the following tips, the proactive use of EVV solutions also results in two byproducts, one that adds to revenue and another that reduces costs. MCOs are looking for “preferred provider” agencies which do more than just “check the box” with how they care for their members. EVV tools, when used to proactively manage cases, help agencies and MCOs communicate. Costs are reduced – and audit risks lowered – through the same proactive management, which catches mistakes, missed patients and allows for corrective actions in real time, all while offering protection for the agency against allegations of fraud and abuse.
About the Author: Tom Underwood is the CEO of Sandata Technologies (www.sandata.com), a national provider of electronic visit verification and home care management software solutions can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
©2017 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. email@example.com