Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Next up in our Ask the Experts blog series is a topic that many in the home healthcare space will find useful. Many agencies use a variety of different HR tools to help them stay organized with compliance, workloads, eLearning and communications. Unfortunately, what initially started out as a resource has quickly become a disjointed workflow with out-of-date technology, multiple touch points, and no interoperability. What if we told you that you can consolidate what many of those individual technologies do into one easy-to-use platform?

There was a lot of information shared in our webinar, so we will be breaking the content up into a series of blog posts. You can read in our individual blog posts or simply download the full pdf here or fill out the form below to receive it all in a single document to view and share with colleagues.

With Sandata being a CareConnect partner, have you seen any advantages of your clients switching from several different software technologies and systems to one integrated platform system, like CareConnect?

Agencies want more from their agency management platform. For years, it was enough for agency management platforms to only offer billing, cash applications and payroll. Now that there are several different technologies out there, providers simply do not have the time or patience to manage multiple vendors, contracts, and implementations. They have a lot to handle, such as solving business challenges and maintaining compliance through everchanging regulations. We have also found that the older systems just can’t deliver the ease of use and interoperability.

Homecare is a crazy business, therefore agencies really need operational efficiencies to create cost savings. We have done a number of things to help aid that need. For example, Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) used to be a stand-alone product and now it’s totally embedded within the agency management solution. This allows users to receive real time alerts for late or missed visits, which is a big operational improvement. This also eliminates paper from the process, which saves time and money.

If you are not familiar with EVV, it is a method used to verify home healthcare visits to ensure patients are not neglected and to cut down on fraudulently documented home visits. As of January 1, 2020, EVV was mandated by Medicaid and extended out to December 31, 2020 due to Covid-19. Due to the mandate included in the 21st Century Cures Act, all home care agencies providing personal care services must have an EVV solution in place or will risk having their Medicaid claims denied.

An agency is more operationally efficient when payroll and billing can be processed in real time without having to mail, scan, and store paper documentation. Most states now have an aggregator to manage this newly mandated process. The software sends the EVV data for Medicaid personal care to the state’s aggregator. When all of these things are tied together, it’s driving less rejections and denials because the same piece of data is used across the board in multiple applications. So, your EVV is your billing, your payroll, and it is the aggregator feed.

At the state level, they are looking at that claim data and bumping it up against the data provided by the aggregator, which is determining either a claim payment or rejection. So, the fact that the same piece of data is flowing through multiple aspects of the technology is an extremely important detail. It’s great to offer flexibility and meet caregivers where they live, especially when you add in the eLearning – Inservice continuing education piece, which is a huge need right now. CareConnect ties everything together and helps caregivers be ready to work faster and more efficiently.

In today’s environment, it’s difficult to have a classroom full of people, and some agencies may still be working with a skeleton crew. Therefore, agencies certainly are not wanting to bring 20 people in the door all at once for training. For agencies to stay compliant, they should not have to worry about factoring in another system, which may include additional integrations. Agencies are looking for the best in breed, all in one solution, which is CareConnect.

Are home healthcare aides able to do everything on their own smartphone–your agency management system, your scheduling, and the CareConnect application?

Sure, although the agency management piece is largely just accessed by the home office, the administrator’s, human resources, etc. From the field caregiver perspective, yes, all of it is done on a smartphone via the CareConnect app. They can check in and out via their mobile app, take e-learning courses, receive shift invitations, receive HIPAA compliant chat messaging, which is not text messaging, an important piece of information to note. Even on the point of care side, it is all mobile device accessible, allowing agencies to move towards being completely paperless.

While almost everybody in the world has a smartphone today, what do you do if you hire somebody who does not have one or is reluctant to using a smartphone?

This is still a small problem overall for the industry, but there are other ways to access the services, such as a web browser. So the issue is less about access and more about enforcing compliance. That is why the education part of the solution becomes key. If you do not have a smart phone, but can access a computer, the issue is resolved.

Once an agency explains the benefits and ease of use and increased connection between them and their home health aides, it oftentimes negates whatever concern they have about using their smartphone. Most of their reluctance is connected to data plans and the confusion around cost, which we understand why they may feel this way. So again, it goes back to education and helping everyone see the value of the solution.

Once home health aides see the benefits provided, we believe their reluctance will subside. Some of these benefits include, the elimination of phone calls to their agency (getting through to any agency, especially during a pandemic time is always difficult) and capturing work times, attendance and tasks performed all in one place. Regarding EVV and reporting their visit, if they do not have a smartphone, they can use the patient’s telephone to report their time in and time out. They can also punch in their tasks through the phone, which should eliminate having to use a piece of paper.

Webinar Attendee Question: As far as HIPAA compliance text messages versus non-compliant messages, is that through specific software, an app, or simply a communication guideline that the office would impose in the field?

If patient specific information is included in a text, you’re at risk. That information should always be protected. CareConnect has put an end to end encrypted software behind the solution that goes from one entrance to another. It is also threaded by the patient, so it’s not commingled with other messaging and is specific to each patient. CareConnect’s advanced scheduling app and chat communication is protected behind a passcode, allowing you to share patient specific information that is protected, making it HIPAA compliant. For example, if someone has a question about a shift or a client that does not come to mind until before or after a shift and needs to connect to the person that may have the information that they need, it is not going to be commingled with another shift’s information. You would have to go to that specific client to ask the question. Each conversation is separated by individual client. We have built a serious firewall to protect patient information.

Ask the Experts Panel:

Tim Rowan, our moderator, is a nationally known home health care consultant and publisher of Homecare Technology, the Rowan Report, an industry premier technology newsletter since 1999. He has been in the home healthcare space since 1993 and has been teaching home care agencies how to manage their online reputation since 2015.

Jim Rolla is the Senior Vice President at Partners in Care, which is within the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Jim has 27 years of progressive experience in licensed home health care services. He has many talents that have led to his success including business development, operations, profitability, regulatory compliances, and multi-site or multi-state location management.

Mike Gelman is the President and Chief Operation Officer at CareConnect. He has 20 years of experience in senior roles at institutionally backed healthcare and technology companies. His expertise in financial and corporate development have allowed him to be successful in several roles, which include operation executive positions. Mike’s wealth of experience helps CareConnect to provide services to you, the home care provider.

Steve Pellito is the Senior Vice President of Sales at Sandata Technologies and has 20 years of experience in healthcare, sales, management and business development. Currently, Steve leads the provider sales and marketing team at Sandata and is responsible for the development and execution of the national go to market strategy.