The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) hosted two scheduled Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) Listening Sessions as part of their federal requirement to engage with stakeholders. With just five Listening Sessions scheduled within a 1-month period, no advanced notice and in-person only meetings, Stop EVV quickly mobilized our NY Coalition to be present at each meeting.
The first meeting was held May 30, 2019 in Albany with a second meeting the following week on June 5th in Rochester. NYSDOH opened both meetings with a 20 minute PowerPoint presentation given by a third-party meeting facilitator. The presentation covered the Cures Act EVV requirements and the process the State will undertake to implement EVV. It will be made available on the NYS EVV website sometime in the near future. NYSDOH further emphasized that the State has made no decisions regarding EVV, including the model type – meaning the State may or may not choose a single vendor for all home health care and personal care services providers to use.
The Listening Sessions were also video recorded by NYSDOH. A promise to the community for a copy of the meeting to be captioned and released publicly was made.
Following the presentation, NYSDOH opened up the meeting to attendees to voice their concerns, opinions, and thoughts on EVV and the process in NY. Both the Albany and Rochester Listening Sessions had approximately 40 individuals present at each. Attendees represented home care and Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA) consumers, personal assistants, fiscal intermediaries (FIs), FI and consumer associations, and others.
Stop EVV representatives spoke on issues of meeting accessibility, a lack of advertisement of stakeholder meetings, EVV systems accessibility, the home care workforce shortage and the impact of EVV, data and security breach concerns, technological access in rural areas, a lack of technological knowledge in some communities, the hidden costs of EVV on consumers and personal assistants, the need for further and more robust stakeholder engagement sessions, and issues specific to CDPA – including burdensome preset scheduling requirements, the loss of consumer employer rights to supervision and time sheet attestation, the loss of consumer overview of their plan of care hours, the burden of third-party administrators for time sheet modifications, and how certain EVV systems may place the State or FI as a joint employer.
Stop EVV challenged NYSDOH to make a commitment to prohibit the use of geolocation (GPS) tracking, geofencing or biometric data collection in all EVV systems. The State provided no response.
The federal requirement for States to draw from best practices was also highlighted. A list of consumer written best practices were provided to NYSDOH, including those from Concepts of Independence, the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State (CDPAANYS), and the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL). Successes from Stop EVV – California Coalition advocates working side-by-side with the California Department of Social Services were also discussed. We detailed how the CA web portal and telephony systems integrate with one another, the importance of working alongside end users with a consumer-led design process, and the need to ensure consumer choice of EVV system in NY is prioritized.
Moreover, we clarified some of the misinformation surrounding EVV, such as the ability to capture location through a word phrase (home, community or both) and that there is no federal requirement for EVV to be used in real-time as shifts start and end. Systems that permit users to complete the time sheet at the end of the week are qualified EVV systems so long as it is an electronic collection format.
Echoed by all stakeholders who voiced their opinion was the need for the State to choose a model that offered flexibility and choice to providers and consumers.
Immediately following the meetings, Stop EVV gathered consumers, personal assistants and community members to participate in a social media photo campaign that will launch later this summer. (If you want to participate in this campaign yet cannot be at a meeting in-person, please let us know.)
NYSDOH acknowledged that they will submit to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) a good faith effort extension request before the deadline later this autumn.
Both Listening Sessions ended early with no response to comments from NYSDOH officials.
NYSDOH announced at the Rochester meeting that the NYC Listening Session is sold out. Stop EVV encourages anyone who wants to attend the NYC meeting to show up even if you are not able to register. We will be organizing an action event for those who are turned away!
A webinar date was added to the NYS EVV Listening Session schedule for June 24th at 9 A.M.