With the deadline requiring Medicaid-reimbursed personal care services to implement electronic visit verification (EVV) technology fast approaching, a sense of urgency permeated the crowd. About 130 attendees, consisting of some 70 managed care organizations and providers and more than a dozen thought leaders packed the 2018 eVVolution EVV National Leadership & Engagement Summit at the Wyndham Resort Deerfield Beach, May 30-June 1.

Festivities for the event hosted by Tellus, LLC, began Wednesday evening, with a cocktail reception sponsored by Premier FMS. Visitors from states as far away as Alaska mingled, networked and informally prepped for the important mobile health topics to be discussed over the upcoming days.

“The cocktail hour was a big success. There were some great conversations taking place,” said Tellus CEO Brad Levine, noting Thursday’s full agenda of issues geared to the stakeholders attending — including some of the largest managed care and home health businesses in the country. “This is the first and only national Summit on EVV. I’m sure we’ve all seen firsthand how technology can lead industries through good, and necessary, change. That’s why we’re all here. EVV offers great potential to automate processes, improve productivity, deliver greater visibility and so much more to help make patient care better.”

These comments were punctuated when a lightning storm temporarily knocked out power at the venue. It was jokingly noted as divine intervention: Now was the time to get things done.

Engaging Conversations and Crucial Information

Questions surrounding the 21st Century Cures Act mandated by Congress, and its looming January 2019 deadline requiring personal care service workers such as attendants, aides and direct care workers to electronically confirm when they arrive and depart was a recurring theme at the EVV Summit. The Cures Act also set a 2023 deadline for home health professionals to “go-live” with EVV, a technology solution that verifies that service is actually delivered.

Following Levine’s opening remarks Thursday, a full day of presentations and breakout sessions began in earnest with a keynote address on the transformation to a mobile, digital health care world. The presentation, Fireside Chat: Innovations in Digital Health was led by one of Apple’s thought leaders in digital health along with Bill Manzie, Administrative Director of TeleHealth Strategy at Memorial Health System in Hollywood, Fla.

The National Association of States for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD) presented second and released findings of its latest white paper on EVV, Electronic Visit Verification Implications for States, Providers and Medicaid Participants. The report provided information on the current state of EVV; the new requirements set forth in the Cures Act, including methods for stakeholder engagement; the role of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services; and the approaches states need to consider leading up to the January 1, 2019, implementation

On the regulatory front, a panel presenting Improve Visibility with EVV to Combat Fraud, Waste and Abuse noted that FWA is a widespread problem in the health care industry and getting worse, fueling the federal government’s backing of EVV as a viable weapon in its crime-fighting arsenal.

Switching gears from compliance to mental health applications, the next program discussed the Role of EVV in Behavioral Health.

Continuing the Conversation

After breaking for lunch, concurrent breakout sessions were held on several pertinent subjects that included aggressive participation and thoughtful questions from both groups.

In one, Streamline Agency Management Through Integrated EVV panelists collaborated on how implementing EVV helps streamline business processes and create efficiency. In the second breakout, Use EVV to Simplify Your MCO’s Complex Business Rule Management panelists discussed how EVV can improve transparency and decision support for managed care organizations.

Tellus EVP of Strategic Innovation Lia Sweeney moderated the next panel, Meeting the Unique Needs of Self-Direction. The first day of presentations concluded with Home Health and EVV, a discussion around how EVV can help streamline efficiencies in home health.

As with all the preceding programs, stakeholders participated in a lively Q&A session that served to inform and motivate those embracing EVV technology.

The day ended with a gala celebration event that included a live band, delicious food, and more great discussion.

Defining the Future of EVV

Levine opened day three of the EVV Summit with a few words from event sponsor Sprint, which named Tellus as its exclusive EVV vendor, and the presentation, How Technology is eVVolving Care at Home. That session was followed with the presentation delivered by Health Management Associates, Where is this EVVolution Headed?, addressing the evolving future of EVV. The session highlighted the importance of advanced EVV systems that go beyond legal requirements and are designed specifically to meet the needs of the populations they serve. Tellus was cited for taking significant steps to build an EVV platform that reached well beyond the short-term needs. The concluding formal session was presented by Tellus’ Lia Sweeney: Increase Adoption with Effective Training and Outreach.

Levine broke his own news during the event, announcing that discussions were underway to launch a national, not-for-profit EVV trade group called NEVVA, the first of its kind in the nation. “Solving critically important issues is not enough. We must continue the conversation,” Levine said. “We expect [NEVVA] to be formalized over the next several months.” By the end of the EVV Summit, a consensus had been reached among attending stakeholders to move forward with the formation of the association.

The three-day event helped get industry participants on the same page and served as an important educational tool to help navigate the maelstrom of financial and regulatory challenges ahead for EVV.

“Providers could get paid in real time,” said presenter Jennifer Burnett, principal of Harrisburg, PA-based Health Management Associates, noting that truckers are now required to log electronically their long-distance recordkeeping. “Digital tracking is happening in all industries in Pennsylvania. My mantra is providers get paid and customers get paid.”

The goal for EVV moving forward, she said, is to support family caregivers, be customizable, streamline the aggregation of data collection, and enhance the ability of states to inform.