EVV Phase II Ohio: You Gotta Own It

One of the many hot topics surrounding the roll out of Phase II EVV in Ohio is the use of new hardware. Adding another step to the whole process of billing and meeting compliance is not something anyone is looking forward to.

Yet, time marches on, and a few bad providers have weakened the trust for in-home support providers, landing us here, in the most recent of many changes to our dedicated, yet taxed, IDD Provider Network. As if more compliance and changes were not stressful enough on face value, there are challenges with this rollout that has me saying, if you are going to address EVV, “You Gotta Own It”.

Who Does Own EVV? The Provider or the Individual?

It can be a real challenge to figure out who “owns” EVV compliance. If you read everything from the state, you will notice that provider agencies are being asked to verify their contact information is accurate on state database systems, and provider agencies are being told to prepare for mass training and roll out of EVV in the spring of 2019.

At the same time it is clear that when it comes time to engage EVV, so that payment will not be stopped, providers will be using devices that are shipped and owned by the individual served and NOT the agency. This has lead to horror stories, during Phase I implementation. In some instances, the devices, which are crucial to the payment process, were thrown away or given away and were not accessible by agency staff to validate service claims.

The only amount of control that a provider agency can have, to assure they are given the chance to validate service claims, is to own the hardware and use an alternative provider. If a provider’s staff can enter a person’s home with a device that not only initiates the EVV claim but also initiates a timesheet and billing record simultaneously, then the provider agency can have control over the compliance requirement that can impact payment in a very real and immediate way.

EVV and GPS Tracking

GPS devices are controversial and their use in Ohio’s EVV plan has created conversation. It is important to know as we all wade into these waters that not all GPS is the same. The two main approaches to using GPS that I will review is what I will call passive or engaged tracking, and the “always tracking” system.

The “always tracking” system is what many of us use if we use GPS while driving to a destination. We input the address and our GPS solution establishes where we are in relation to where we want to go. We then get all sorts of good information about how best to get there and we are off. Along the way, our GPS solution is “always tracking” our turn by turn approach to where we are headed. Some solutions give us great information along the way such as traffic that is slowing down up ahead or accidents that occurred and we are quickly offered an alternative route. We can even find our favorite restaurant along the way if we want. This system really works well for our needs and many of us could not imagine a world that had us unfolding maps in the car as we tried to figure out the best route to our destination.

As good as this may be for our personal use and travel needs, is it good to apply this kind of solution to in-home care services?

Connect A Voice makes use of the passive or engaged tracking approach when activating GPS. This kind of use for GPS prevents it from always being active and tracking our every move. In addition, the Connect A Voice solution is not resting in a person’s home who is receiving services but rather placed in the hands of the direct support professional (DSP). Not only does it take a passive approach to its use of GPS, the Connect a Voice solution does not stay behind with the individual receiving services.

So how does it work? Very simple. When a DSP enters the home, or location of service, they activate the Connect a Voice app on their smartphone. By logging in with a unique name and password, the DSP selects an “Easy” button of sorts that collects the time and location of that moment.

No more, no less.

As a DSP continues executing their responsibilities throughout the day, completing services, passing medications, or documenting notes, each contact with the Connect a Voice mobile app collects the time and location of that moment.

No more, no less.

If the DSP selects that they completed meal preparation with the individual, we are able to capture when and where they selected that box indicating compliance and completion.

No more, no less.

Connect a Voice GPS Helps Providers in More Ways Than Just EVV

So even though we understand that GPS does not have to track our every move, and for the purposes of EVV implementation, it does not have to rest in the hands of the individual being supported, there may still be some concerns about GPS tracking anything associated with a person’s location while receiving services.

The fact that Connect a Voice has a parent as its founder and professionals of IDD services as part of its Executive team means that point is not lost on us. At the same time we can listen and think through the concerns around tagging a GPS location while services are provided, we can also see the benefits. In fact, customers have already experienced these benefits and they were willing to share, what they considered, was an improvement to the care they offered.

In one instance, a person with intellectual and developmental disabilities requested drop-in services be provided. The provider used the passive GPS ability of Connect a Voice and determined that they were at risk for Medicaid fraud and not providing the necessary support for this individual. Connect a Voice was able to show a continued pattern of the employee starting their “shift” somewhere other than where services could be provided.

ISP documentation was also shown as being completed somewhere other than where services could be provided. As an added benefit of creating digital records and sharing real-time information around care, our customer was also able to avoid perpetuating a poor quality service and the risk of Medicaid fraud.

Choose Connect a Voice as Your EVV Partner

As Ohio continues forward with EVV implementation, targeting August 5th for providers to be documenting services, its time to find that partner to coordinate your EVV compliance goals, manage your technical engagement with the state’s vendor Sandata, and provide advocacy and education around privacy concerns by your customers and stakeholders. Contact us today.

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