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As expected, the President has signed into law H.R. 6042, a bill that delays the requirement for state Medicaid programs to mandate that home care providers use Electronic Visit Verification technology. To be known as Public Law No: 115-222, the bill was signed on Monday, July 30. The new EVV deadline is January 1, 2020.

Each state will independently determine its next course of action in response to the delay. Home care providers submitting Medicaid claims should check with their state Medicaid offices to see how they plan to react to the change, of course, though many of those decisions have not been made yet. We checked with a few but were mostly met with, "we will be making that decision shortly."

Most of the states that have already implemented pilot EVV systems, selected approved vendors, and chosen one of the four common implementation models* made compliance voluntary until the deadline. Whether they will simply extend the pilot and delay their own deadline to match the new federal deadline remains to be seen. States that had not even begun to prepare for the 1/1/19 deadline will most likely take full advantage of the delay.

Quick survey reveals only guesses

We contacted a representative sample of EVV leaders to see what they have been hearing since the delay bill was signed into law. Sandata CEO Tom Underwood told us that all of the states in which his company is involved are planning to continue their implementation on schedule, but will likely give Medicaid providers a little more time before imposing their own deadline for mandatory use. "In general," he said, "this is a good opportunity for states to take a little extra time and allow providers to become more comfortable with the change."

Joe Russell, Executive Director of the Ohio Council for Home Care and Hospice, told us that his state's Department of Medicaid has already indicated it is not planning to move the current timeline. "While the bill does not require states to delay the implementation of EVV," Russell said, "we would like to see Ohio give providers more time to come into compliance now that we’re not racing toward January 1, 2019. Depending on future developments, OCHCH may advocate for changes in the timeline to ensure a successful implementation. That being said, we’re telling our members that it’s critical they continue to test and tweak their EVV systems even with the passage of the bill."

Don O'Rourke is the CEO of DND Mobile Care Solutions. He is perceiving a "mixed bag" of responses to the law among the states in which his company is involved. He told us,

"We are working closely with one state that clearly welcomes the delay but is moving forward so it is in good position well before the deadline," he told us. "I am hearing other states that are pretty far down the road are not using the reprieve to analyze and make sure the wisest course of action is being taken. We know of two states that are pretty far behind and one of those has decided to defer all activity until early 2019.  That seems rather foolhardy to not use this Fall to better understand the options available and the ramifications that come with those options.

"From my personal perspective, I always felt the 1-1-19 deadline was overly aggressive.  Hopefully this delay will allow decision makers the time to make informed decisions and thereafter implement their solution in an orderly fashion. I still feel the Neutral Aggregator* approach makes the most sense for all involved."

* For background on the Neutral Aggregator model and other EVV implementation models states might choose, see our complete EVV series of articles at Type EVV into our word search tool.

©2018 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only.