Our fight to protect privacy for providers and clients
A federal law has mandated that all states implement Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) for Medicaid-funded personal care services programs like IHSS starting January 1, 2019—or else lose significant funding. Providers and clients have been very worried about what EVV will be like: will it endanger our privacy? Will it create lots of extra work in our already busy days?
That’s why UDW caregivers have been active in opposing a burdensome EVV system, and have been sharing our fears and concerns about EVV to the California Department of Social Services (DSS).
What is happening now with EVV?
Now that the state has announced their initial EVV plans, it looks like our activism has paid off. The state said that they are listening to IHSS providers and clients and are going ahead with a plan to implement EVV that is not nearly as intrusive as we feared. While not yet approved by the federal government, the planned California EVV system will be relatively simple and require very little change for providers already using electronic timesheets.
What will the proposed EVV plan change for providers and clients?
Unlike some other states, California’s EVV will be a non-specific description of hours and services using existing electronic timesheet technology. There will be no “real-time” reporting—you will report the services you provided when you normally do your timesheets. There will be no GPS or other location tracking and no detailed descriptions of where you and your client are or what services you provide.
For most providers and clients, there will be little change. However, the plan includes phasing out paper timesheets, and providing a call-in phone option for those who don’t have access to the internet.
What is UDW doing?
UDW will continue to protect privacy and quality of care for IHSS providers and clients by holding DSS accountable to their promises and working at the California State Capitol to make sure that the laws on EVV stay on our side. The biggest challenge of this plan is the proposed elimination of paper timesheets, and UDW will be there to help members with this transition if and when the time comes.
What you can do
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The 21st Century CURES Act, federal legislation signed into law in December 2016, includes a small provision that could have big consequences for home care providers and our clients.
The provision requires states that have Medicaid-funded personal care services programs like IHSS and WPCS to adopt an Electronic Visit Verification system (EVV) in their programs starting January 1, 2019, or face a reduction in federal funding.
EVV systems electronically monitor the care we provide to our clients in their homes, including:
Understandably, home care providers and clients are wary of any kind of electronic monitoring that can make our already difficult jobs more difficult. Our union opposed the provision when it was first proposed in D.C. and, now that the provision was signed into law, California faces a big choice: adopt EVV in IHSS and WPCS or lose federal funding for these critical programs.
The California Department of Social Services is currently working on how it might implement EVV in our state, and our union and other stakeholders have submitted our formal opposition to the implementation of EVV in California.
A lot of the details about how EVV will impact IHSS providers and our clients (what happens if you live with your client? What if you forgot to “check in”? What if you don’t have internet access?) have yet to be addressed by the state, but there are some things you should know:
✔ California’s EVV plan is under consideration
The federal government is giving states a lot of leeway in how they implement Electronic Visit Verification. This means that there is still time to have a say, and UDW intends to do just that. We have been attending stakeholder meetings and will keep caregivers updated on the latest developments.
✔There may be legal challenges to EVV
EVV may violate existing laws, which could block its implementation in California. We are calling on the state to carefully examine the legality of EVV before it takes any steps to implement a system.
✔EVV will be expensive
We are calling on the state to carefully weigh the ongoing costs of implementing and maintaining an EVV system versus the potential loss of federal funding. It is possible, based on the sheer size of the IHSS and WPCS programs, that the costs simply don’t outweigh the benefits.
Many UDW caregivers and our clients oppose EVV and for good reason: our jobs are hard enough without having to add another layer of reporting and oversight. That’s why UDW will be involved every step of the way in the planning and implementation of any EVV program to make sure that caregivers’ and our clients’ rights are protected.
Check out UDW’s EVV Facebook Live cohosted with The Arc of California:
Find more resources here:
Federal EVV Statute
SEC. 12006. ELECTRONIC VISIT VERIFICATION SYSTEM REQUIRED FOR PERSONAL CARE SERVICES AND HOME HEALTH CARE SERVICES UNDER MEDICAID.
Section 12006 of the 21st Century CURES Act Electronic Visit Verification Systems
Session 2: Promising Practices for States Using EVV January 2018 39 pages
Section 12006 21st Century CURES Act Electronic Visit Systems Power Point Presentation 49 pages
Session 1: Requirements, Implementation, Considerations, and State Survey Results December 2017
Section 12006 21st Century Cures Act Electronic Visit Verification System 61 Slides August 2017
Requirements, Implementation, Considerations, and State Survey Results