Langevin Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Allow More Time to Establish Health Care Electronic Visit Verification Systems

May 24, 2018 Issues: Disabilities, Health Care

Representatives Jim Langevin (D-RI), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Don Young (R-AK), and Steve Stivers (R-OH) have introduced a bipartisan bill to delay the implementation of a provision contained in the mental health section of the 21st Century Cures Act requiring states to have Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) systems in place for personal home health care services by 2019. The EVV system requires health care providers and patients to use electronic methods to confirm that services were actually delivered and billed accurately. The legislation would delay the new Medicaid requirement for one year – until January 1, 2020 – giving the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services time to collect feedback from stakeholders on the program and affording states more time to set up effective EVV systems.

“We must provide the time and flexibility necessary to establish an Electronic Visit Verification system that ensures accountability and enables providers to maintain quality care,” Langevin said. “I’m proud to introduce a bill that fosters a more inclusive and transparent process for stakeholder involvement to ensure the EVV system properly serves all affected populations, including seniors and people with disabilities.”

“EVV has the potential to improve the health and well-being of patients if it ensures that high-quality services are delivered when and where they are needed, while also reducing the potential for waste and fraud,” DeGette said. “But the timeline established in guidance by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is overly ambitious; our proposed extension will give CMS the chance to follow a proper rulemaking process, including engaging with stakeholders in order to ensure that the policy is implemented correctly. It will also allow each state greater opportunity to ensure that its EVV programs are best suited to the unique needs of its citizens by ensuring that patient and provider concerns about implementation and use are addressed.”

“In order to have an accountable and compliant Electronic Visit Verification system, we must provide states with an adequate amount of time to implement the requirements,” Young noted. “I’m proud to cosponsor this legislation because it will ensure the states have the time and necessary resources to carry out this program correctly. Our goal of reducing abuse in the Medicaid and Medicare systems must start with ensuring all entities are on the same page.”

“While reducing waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicaid system is essential to raising quality of care and lowering costs, the lack of timely federal guidance in implementing Electronic Visit Verification requirements will penalize those individuals with disabilities who rely on these services most. Let’s make sure we get this right,” Stivers said.

In addition to delaying the EVV implementation requirement, the bill requires a notice and comment rulemaking period, both to help ensure that stakeholders who use and provide these services are involved in the implementation of the policy as well as to protect the privacy and civil rights of these consumers.

The delay also allows states to work with CMS to ensure that their programs are administered appropriately and efficiently. This includes resolving questions about EVV implementation, working with state legislatures to secure funding for costs not covered by federal dollars, designing pilot programs and phased roll-outs of implementation and providing important education on fraud prevention in training and education for both patients and providers. Similarly, the rulemaking process will help foster a more comprehensive and transparent process as states work to balance the privacy and implementation concerns of consumers and caregivers, the administrative and financial concerns of providers and states, and EVV’s goals of fraud prevention.

A number of advocacy groups have expressed support for the delay, including the Center for Public Representation, the National Disability Rights Network and the American Network of Community Options & Resources (ANCOR).

Companion legislation in the Senate was introduced by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AL),  Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tina Smith (D-WI), and Rob Portman (R-OH).