Senate bill will give states grace period

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have introduced a bipartisan bill that would delay the implementation of a provision contained in the 21st Century Cures Act law that requires states to implement Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) systems for personal care services, and ensure individuals who receive these services have a voice in the implementation process.

The EVV provision included in the 21st Century Cures Act requires healthcare providers to use an electronic system to confirm that personal care services are delivered and billed accurately. The Senators’ legislation would delay this new Medicaid requirement for one year in order to give states the proper time to set up effective EVV systems, and require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to solicit stakeholder comments prior to finalizing regulations related to implementation to ensure the concerns of the patient and provider communities are taken into account.

“This is too important to rush – we must take the time to get it right. Our legislation will ensure communities across the state – whether they are rural or urban – have the time and flexibility they need to get electronic verification systems up and running, and ensure that the Ohioans who rely on Medicaid for personal care services, and those who deliver those services, have the opportunity to make their voices heard during the process,” Brown said.

“Electronic Visit Verifications have the potential to greatly improve the welfare and health of Alaskan patients by validating the delivery and billing of services, while reducing potential waste and fraud. It’s encouraging to see the flexibility States have in selecting their own EVV designs and implementing quality control measures that are a good, local fit,” Murkowski said. “This legislation ensures that Alaskans have adequate time to thoughtfully develop an effective EVV system based on the input of our family caregivers and stakeholders so patients receive the quality services they need and deserve.”

“Electronic Visit Verifications are crucial to ensuring that Ohio’s most vulnerable are receiving the care and services they deserve. I strongly support these systems, but before we roll them out across the country we must take into account the needs of the communities and ensure they are implemented effectively. I’m proud to support this legislation so that we can continue to offer Ohio and other states the flexibility they need to get this right,” Portman said.

The legislation would delay the required implementation of EVV systems from Jan. 1, 2019 to Jan. 1, 2020 and require CMS to utilize notice and comment rulemaking as it puts out guidance for states implementing their EVV programs. The 21st Century Cures Act was passed in 2016. In addition to requiring EVV for personal care services, the 21st Century Cures Act – which Brown supported – included several other provisions, particularly aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic.