Category Archives: Healthcare

How Investing In Safety & Compliance Solutions Can Save You More Than It Will Ever Cost

Several federal and state laws hold businesses accountable for the well being of their employees. While successful businesses are dedicated to employee safety, many still view measures taken to protect employees as a financial burden. We challenge business owners and decision makers to change the misconception that compliance is a superfluous cost, and instead embrace the tangible savings of compliance as a return on investment (ROI).

Having a compliance solution that works for your business can help you:

Avoid Legal Fees

The chance of entering a lawsuit due to a compliance mistake can pose thousands of dollars in costs for your business. Legal fees can quickly pile up. Consequential reputation damage can have costly effects on your business as trust and goodwill is lost.

Dodge Costly Fines

A breach in compliance can happen on a number of levels. Whether a violation is made on the state, federal, or industry level, subsequent fines can be expected. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) agency enforces statutes and regulations that many industries abide by. A serious violation can result in a fine of up to $7,000. A repeat violation costs $70,000. While, a fatal incident can reach a fine of $500,000. Ensuring safety and compliance within all compliance requirements your business is subject to will save up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

OSHA states 1915.84(a) (1) “Throughout each work shift at regular intervals appropriate to the job assignment to ensure the employee’s safety and health; and”1915.84(a) (2) “At the end of the job assignment or at the end of the work shift, whichever occurs first.” 1915.84(b) “The employer shall account for each employee by sight or verbal communication.” Smartphone applications can support the stringent communication requirements OSHA holds employers accountable for. In addition to physically tracking the location of the lone worker, these applications allow for many methods of instant communication. Text and voice messages allow for easy, consistent contact between employers and lone workers that fulfills OSHA standards for communication at regular intervals.

Workforce management apps can almost completely automate safety and compliance tasks in line with NIOSH and OSHA instructions. With situations similar to those employers face in the state of California, advanced workforce management apps can send alerts to employees when the temperature reaches 95 degrees. Employees are then notified to take the required break time within a two-hour period. Employer and employee productivity is increased as each party does less to ensure that workers are safe in their work environments and employers are complying with state and federal laws and recommendations.

Compliance Should be Scalable

As companies grow, they become more vulnerable to disaster when compliance standards are violated. Already costly fees multiply the larger businesses become. Your compliance system should be able to expand with your company across work sectors and geographically across borders.

Compliance as an Opportunity for Growth

A lack of compliance-related incidents creates an encouraging environment for business while avoiding a loss in productivity and money. Putting a relatively small amount of funding into a strong and efficient compliance system allows your business to keep doing what it is meant to instead of dealing with the lengthy hassles of possible compliance breaches.

Summary

myGeoTracking is a cloud-hosted, carrier-grade location and messaging platform that helps SMB and Enterprise businesses better manage their mobile employees by improving productivity and accountability, while reducing payroll and operations costs with solutions such as GPS tracking & time clock, Lone worker safety, Automation of field activity monitoring, Mobile forms & data collection including signature, notes, pictures, barcode/QR code, etc. The myGeoTracking platform enables these solutions across a wide range of industries such as field service management, trade services, emergency responders, sales reps, transportation & logistics and home health care providers.

See How Mobile Forms can Help both Businesses and Caregivers

Healthcare providers in a variety of industries, such as home health, community health, hospice have traditionally used paper forms to record their caregivers daily visit log amongst other logistical recordings.

These methods have been prone to errors that only multiply as your operations scale.  Errors range from data entry mistakes to plain old “dog ate my forms.” Transcribing hand-scribbled notes during patient visits is also challenging.  Old-school digital technologies (pdfs, excels) have gone a long way in mitigating some of these issues but are not ideal.

These order entry methods cost an enormous amount of time and money.  For Field Healthcare providers, handwriting daily summaries can be a tedious and time-consuming task; trying to remember details to record later can result in hindsight bias, and can affect the accuracy of information. Paper printouts of relevant caregiver forms including duty checklist and daily log forms is also very expensive and wasteful. All these limitations reduce the productivity of the health-care providers to provide effective services in the field while also impacting customer satisfaction.

To truly capitalize on modern-day tools and remain compliant with strict state and federal requirements, healthcare providers with caregivers will need to transition to the mobile phones and caregiver apps, with always-on connectivity and access to up-to-date patient information at their fingertips.

Healthcare providers, small and large, are turning to mobile apps to use advanced form capabilities that are otherwise not available on paper. Apps can store forms and other related data in the secure and reliable cloud system. Form data can be available on multiple systems for multiple users and can easily share evolving information in real time. Additionally, automation allows the configuration of alerts based on data input in real time.

Never encounter another case of the human error that can take place when using paper forms.

Mobile forms eradicate the hassle and cost of paper forms. The flexibility offered by creating, editing and sharing forms in real time establishes mobile forms as an advantageous supplement in any industry with field employees, notably the healthcare industry.

Comply with EVV

Home-care service providers are heavily dependent on the use of multiple forms for their daily tasks. Under the 21st Century Cures Act, all Medicaid personal and home health-care providers have to implement Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) by 2019. The Federal EVV mandate requires affected providers to electronically verify: the type of service performed, the member receiving the service, the date of service, the location of service delivery, the care provider responsible for the service, and the time the service begins and ends. Use mobile forms as a simple solution to reporting this variety of data.

Have Instant Access to Patient Information

Make home-care visits more efficient with immediate access to the patient data and use mobile forms to retrieve and update the data.

Handle Unforeseen Circumstances with GPS Location

Tackle any sudden maintenance or repair issues with customized reporting and tagged GPS location. Messaging, signature collection and photo capabilities can supplement any healthcare scenario.

If-This-Then-That Workflow

The myGeoTracking platform also supports a powerful IFTTT (If-this-then-that) workflow rules engine. The IFTTT rules engine translates real-world events to trigger business actions.

With this, you can define your business workflow and myGeoTracking can automate field operations using real-world triggers involving people, places, and time. Both events and subsequent triggers can be highly customized for your businesses specific workflows.

Summary

myGeoTracking is a cloud-hosted, carrier-grade location and messaging platform that helps SMB and Enterprise businesses better manage their mobile employees by improving productivity and accountability, while reducing payroll and operations costs with solutions such as GPS tracking & time clock, Lone worker safety, Automation of field activity monitoring, Mobile forms & data collection including signature, notes, pictures, barcode/QR code, etc. The myGeoTracking platform enables these solutions across a wide range of industries such as field service management, trade services, emergency responders, sales reps, transportation & logistics and home health care providers.

Reduce Fraud and Improve Compliance with Mobile Technology

According to a report by OIG in 2016, nearly 5% of Home Healthcare Providers (about 500 agencies in US) are at potential risk of failing due to compliance and fraudulent activities in their Billing processes.

Government agencies are putting increased scrutiny on Providers’ billing practices in order to improve compliance, reduce human errors and mitigate fraud.   These agencies are leveraging modern digital tools to detect fraud and error patterns in billing practices in home healthcare industry.

Organizations such as ACFE point to some common patterns across most compliance failures e.g. incorrect reporting of diagnoses, billing for services not rendered etc.  Human errors, mistakes in documentation and misrepresentation of field activities can lead to compliance failures and loss of revenue for providers – even if these mistakes are not intentional.

These issues can be easily addressed with the help modern digital technologies and processes – mobile phone apps, cloud hosted business planning software AND automated field operations workflow to monitor any exceptions in real-time and maintain electronic audit logs.

Here’s a list of three most widely seen problems and how to address them:

  • Billing for Services not Rendered:   During every care visit, the attendant can collect the member’s digital signature & note via their mobile app as a proof-of-service at the time of service.   myGeoTracking provides mobile forms, pictures and signature capture to facilitate this.
  • Misrepresenting Dates of Service:  Hand written notes and hours logging is prone to errors.  Mobile time & attendance Apps combined with a plans-of-care forms can be used to address this issue.  Apps can precisely log the date-of-service at the time the service is delivered.   The billing department could then rely on this instead of the date that the claim form is signed/submitted (which is usually on a different date).
  • Misrepresenting locations of service:  use mobile app to geotag all activities at the patient’s site.  This realtime location tagging can be further enhanced with automation to create alerts based on scheduled events e.g. late arrival alerts, care-provider absence alerts, entry / exit alerts from patient homes etc.  This setup would then ensure that the service is delivered by the care provider OR an alternative arrangement in real-time in case of an absent attendant.  All billing reports would now carry a location-tag to ensure point-of-care delivery is consistent with the patient records.

As listed above, smart phone app (or Text and IVR) can be used for easy-to-generate attendance logs, accurate billing reports and audit files for home care service providers.  These technologies can help agencies become compliant with State and Federal requirements while also mitigating fraud activities and improving the overall care delivery for members.

Electronic Visit Verification App for Home Care business – What to look for?

There is an increasing pressure to prevent fraud and states are moving forward towards verifiable proof for the Medicare reimbursements.  The recently passed bill, the 21st Century Cures Act, encourages the state agencies to implement electronic visit verification system (EVV System) for personal care services and home health care services under Medicaid.

The term ‘Electronic Visit Verification’ with respect to personal care services or home health care services, is a system under which visits conducted as part of such services are electronically verified with respect to

          1. The type of service performed
          2. The member receiving the service
          3. The date of the service
          4. The location of service delivery
          5. The care provider responsible for the service
          6. The time the service begins and ends

While electronic visit verification system helps state agencies verify visits and prevent fraudulent claims, the EVV system also presents a unique opportunity for the care providers to boost their bottom line. Picking the right solution is the key!  A modern mobile workforce solution like myGeoTracking helps you do more than just verify visit – it can help you cut down on payroll and mileage costs, boost productivity, automate business process and operation workflow, monitor safety and security of caregivers, and much more.

In our previous post, we covered the various type of EVV systems in the market that can help you with the compliance requirements.  Here are the some of the features/capabilities of a modern EVV solution.

App-based Workforce Solution for Home Care Businesses

The declining popularity of the landline telephony systems and increasing adoption of the mobile phones make mobile technology-based EVV solution an ideal choice for your business.  EVV system based mobile technology use the underlying capabilities of mobile devices (phones and tablets) like sensors, mobile apps, text messages and cloud technology etc.  Such systems are future-proof as they get better as the technology evolves.

The modern EVV solution for all types of caregivers uses the app on the mobile devices, specifically smartphones and tablets.  Most modern mobile devices have GPS chips for location-based services.

Electronic visit verification via GPS tracking and geofencing provides you with a holistic solution to manage your mobile caregiver teams.

Geofence and GPS-based Visit Verification

Geofences, also known as geozones, are virtual perimeters around a predefined area on the map. For health care and home care services, geofences can represent the client’s place (care recipient’s address) and/or business offices.

By setting up geofences for all your clients’ addresses, a modern EVV system like myGeoTracking can automatically record the visits made, the time of visit and the duration, and the service performed.

Geofence-based EVV works automatically!  It requires no interaction from the end-user – the caregiver – so no training or learning curve hassles.  The system automatically detects the caregiver’s presence in the client’s address and records visits.  It provides an error-proof visit audit log, leaving no room for or any “fraudulent practices” such as clients dialling in (IVR based EVV) for their caregiver.

Geofence-based EVV allows you to do more than just verify visit!  The technology helps you automate day-to-day operations, such as routing, attendance (number of visits, time, duration), monitor exceptions (missed visits, delay) and more.   Below are some of the use-case possibilities.

Driving Directions and Routing

With geofenced client addresses, the caregivers can easily retrieve their scheduled visits for the day, get driving directions and routing information directly via the EVV app.  This helps boost productivity and saves time and payroll costs.

Automatic Mileage Tracking and Reporting

The EVV app tracks total miles driven by each caregiver along with the site break-down for billing.

Caregiver Safety Monitoring and Alert Escalation

Geofences help detect the caregiver’s visits. The system can be setup with a custom workflow to monitor their safety and trigger alerts if any threat arises.  For example, if it’s more than 10 minutes into their visit, the system can be setup to send out a text requesting the caregiver to confirm their safety (example: Are you Ok?). Based on the response (or no response) the system can automatically escalate the issue as per the defined workflow – like a phone call to the caregiver, if no response, alert to the manager, and even 911 based on the location.

Job-dispatch/Operations Automation Workflow

With real-time caregiver location and client addresses, the system can be setup to automate operations workflow based upon any real-world event involving people (caregiver), place (client address), and time.  Example:  Automatically dispatch next job assignments or any contextual reminders caregiver-based custom rules involving time and place (client visit address).

To sum things up, a holistic EVV solution can help you do more than just verify visits.  A modern workforce management system for you home care business presents you with the opportunity to cut down costs, streamline operations and boost productivity, while helping you comply with EVV mandate.

Click here to try myGeoTracking’s Automatic Electronic Visit Verification System.  If you’re looking for an EVV solution for your agency talk to our EVV expert today!

John Cunningham:  jcunningham@abaq.us  |  Shaili Jain:  sjain@abaq.us | Or Call us at 415-496-9436

Types of Electronic Visit Verification Systems (EVV Systems) – How it works (and what’s best for Home care your agency?)

In December 2016, then president Obama signed a new law: the 21st Century Cures Act. The law was strongly supported by both senates and the house of representatives and easily passed.  It covers a wide array of subjects related to the health care services and aims to inject higher efficiency, drive cost reduction and improve care quality.  Part of the bill, in the section 12006, encourages the state agencies to implement electronic visit verification system (EVV System) for personal care services and home health care services under Medicaid.

What is Electronic Visit Verification (EVV)

An Electronic Visit Verification system (EVV) for home care and personal care services provides a means to verify visits conducted as a part of services provided related to:

  1. The type of service
  2. Date of service provided
  3. Location of the service delivery
  4. Service provided by (individual’s details)
  5. Time details – service start and end times

Types of Electronic Visit Verification System (EVV System)

Electronic visit verification systems work on different underlying technologies, which form the basis for their classification.  The popular types are:

  • Biometric recognition

  • Telephony

  • Mobile technology (Phones & Tablets)

Which EVV type to choose?

Let us take a look at the various types of EVV systems and see how they work:

The Biometric Recognition

This system uses a dedicated hardware, using caregiver’s scans of their fingerprint or recording voice samples to register their visit.  These devices need to be installed in the care recipient’s premises.

While this method serves the purpose, here are some downsides that need to be considered: the biometric devices are costly, each care recipient has to have a dedicated biometric device installed.  Also, since these devices are required to be placed in the recipient’s premises, it can be seen as an inconvenience.

Telephony

This system requires the landline phones available of the care recipient’s address for visit verification.  Here’s is how it works: the caregiver makes a call using the landline telephone at the recipient’s place to record the visit.

Based on a recent National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), it’s found that almost half of the US household do not have a landline. Smartphones have become a companion for most people in the United States while landline phones are rapidly losing relevance.  Thus, the declining popularity of landlines makes this option historical and therefore a weak contender as an EVV solution.

Mobile Technology (Phones & Tablets)

This method of EVV option uses the caregiver’s own mobile devices – smartphones and tablets  – enabling them to record visits via an app (for EVV), text or phone call.  Smartphones and tablets are constantly evolving and are becoming more powerful, and with increasing maturation and affordability of key technologies like mobile apps, devices, sensors and cloud technology, the mobile technology offers the newest and the most future-proof EVV option.

Mobile technology driven EVV solution allows you to do more than just verify visits.  So, apart from visit verification, any GPS enabled phones and tablets can be used to do some of the following functions:

  • Serve as a communication channel between field and office

  • Provide Timekeeping for caregiver for payroll

  • Track mileage and other costs

  • Generate  reports for documentation and audit

  • Capture data from field: signature, notes, photos and more

  • Monitor caregiver’s safety

  • Serve as a real-time broadcast/alerts channel for one-to-one or one-to-many

To sum up, EVV using mobile devices and apps present a seamlessly fast, easy, secure, error free and a future-proof verification solution for both our customers and their caregivers.

Click here to try myGeoTracking’s Automatic Electronic Visit Verification System.  If you’re looking for an EVV solution for your agency talk to our EVV expert today!

John Cunningham:  jcunningham@abaq.us  |  Shaili Jain:  sjain@abaq.us | Or Call us at 415-496-9436

EVV System for In-Home Care Providers

In December 2016, President Obama signed a new law. This law is designed to inject higher efficiency, drive cost reduction and improve care quality to the personal care and home healthcare industry.

The 21st Century Cures Act is aimed at streamlining the U.S. healthcare industry by increasing efficiency and improving the quality of care to citizens.  The section 12006 of the bill encourages the state agencies to implement electronic visit verification system (EVV System) for personal care services and home health care services under Medicaid.

The Federal Incentives

The states are encouraged to design, develop and implement an EVV System, and the law entitles up to 90 percent federal funding for doing so and subsequently, with up to 75 percent federal funding for operations and& maintenance.  Federal funding is available for all the states that put in place their own EVV System or uses a contractor.

And by not implementing an EVV System, the states run the risk of losing up to 1 percent federal medical assistance.

Why EVV?

Apart from the incentives provided by the federal government, the state agencies can widely benefit from an EVV System. An EVV System has a positive impact overall and is known to drive efficiency, reduce cost and mitigate fraud.

How EVV Systems Work

EVV stands for electronic visit verification.  Quoting from the mandate:

The term “electronic visit verification system” means, with respect to personal care services or home health care services, a system under which visits conducted as part of such services are electronically verified with respect to

(i) the type of service performed;

(ii) the individual receiving the service;

(iii) the date of the service;

(iv) the location of service delivery;

(v) the individual providing the service; and

(vi) the time the service begins and ends.

So, a modern EVV System just acts as a time and attendance verification tool for the in-home caregivers/workers by enabling them to “clock in” and “clock out” to record time and the location at which the care services were rendered.  The EVV System also should provide the ability for the caregivers to record additional information pertaining to the type of care and the care provided itself.

Benefits of EVV System

Electronic Visit Verification Systems offers a reliable, dependable and an error-free means for care providers and home care workers to capture care delivery data in real-time while they are providing the services.  An EVV System brings in loads of benefits such as digital verification of the visits as outlined in the care plan, automates time and attendance of caregivers, provides a paperless, digital means to record the type of care and services provided to the patient. Since the data is recorded digitally the program administrators not only can verify and validate the visit and the type of care but also will be able to pull-up various reports and analytics to drive efficiency in the process.

myGeoTracking EVV Platform

Abaqus, Inc. is a provider of a powerful platform, myGeoTracking, for EVV solution for in-home care providers.  myGeoTracking leverages the advancements in the modern technology in the smartphones/sensors, apps, location-based services, and cellular communication to provide you with a scalable and a robust in-home care workforce solution to help meet EVV requirements for Medicaid compliance.

With myGeoTracking, the healthcare providers simply clock in and out from the place of care. The system automatically verifies the visit of the location via geofencing technology.  The caregiver easily captures additional information via the digital forms on the mobile app. The mobile forms can be customized to suit your needs and business workflow.  The system also offers powerful, customized reporting for time and hours (for payroll), mileage, costing needs, etc.

Additionally, the myGeoTracking platform also supports a powerful IFTTT (If-this-then-that) workflow rules engine.  The IFTTT rules engine translates real-world events to trigger business actions.

With this, you can define your business workflow and myGeoTracking can automate field operations using real-world triggers involving people, place and time.  The real-world events that trigger automatic actions can be highly customized. For example, many of our customers that provide home care services use the IFTTT customization to Automate caregiver safety and threat alerts.

myGeoTracking is a trusted EVV solution partner for some the leading care providers including the home healthcare staffing industry for Medicaid compliance.

Want to learn more or have any questions?  We’d love to hear from you, contact any EVV solutions expert today:

John Cunningham:  jcunningham@abaq.us  |  Shaili Jain:  sjain@abaq.us | Or Call us at 415-496-9436