Why We Resist Technology in the Workplace

People have been resisting technological advances for hundreds of years. Nowadays, we wonder why people ever avoided mechanical farming equipment or doubted the usefulness of personal computers. But as far as we venture back into the history of technology, someone is always hesitant to adopt something new, even if it simplifies their work. The human services industry is no exception to this.

Here are a few common reasons agency staff resist technology and some considerations to ease any doubts you may have:

“It’s Not the Way We Do Things”

Many are wary to introduce technology into their workflow because it means change. Change is hard. Especially when it means moving away from familiar tools like pen and paper and Excel spreadsheets toward the unknown complexities of technology. But if an organization cannot adapt to anything new, it will not thrive.

Workforce management technology is designed to make things easier for an organization. After the initial shock of unfamiliarity passes, you will find that the new way of doing things is simpler and more streamlined. Instead of typing all your time and attendance data into the payroll system, you can import it in seconds.

“Implementation Takes Too Long”

Technology implementation can be a pain, especially in large agencies set in their ways. But the truth is, implementation does not have to take forever.

The biggest barrier to a successful implementation is poor staff compliance. This can occur when managers and executives do not clearly describe the benefits of the new technology or provide adequate training. Most implementation snafus are easily avoidable with a strong compliance plan. As an example, read the story of an agency in Pennsylvania that fully implemented a new time and attendance system in a few weeks.

“We Can’t Afford It”

If you look at the dollar expense of new technology, you may be tempted to write it off. Who needs another cost when resources are already strained? But the truth is that technology has high potential for return-on-investment.

If you have trouble visualizing the long-term savings of effective technology, consider the ways technology saves money:

  • Time – Technology reduces data entry and other manual tasks that eat time. The people who previously performed those tasks can focus their efforts on more meaningful work.
  • Productivity – Agencies can achieve higher goals with technology. Workforce management software can produce complex results and analyze them in minutes to tell you how to maximize the organization’s potential.
  • Employee retention – Technology gives employees more access to their work and more power over their benefits. This helps them stay engaged and happy in the organization.

When implemented correctly, technology can save your organization far more than it costs up front. For more tips, read this eBook and learn six best practices for introducing new technology in your organization.

EVV Officially Delayed

The 21st Century Cures Act of 2016 had initially carried an implementation deadline of January 1, 2019 on EVV requirements. On Monday, July 30, 2018, the President Trump signed H.R. 6042 into law, which delays for one year the reduction of Federal medical assistance percentage for Medicaid personal visits furnished without an electronic visit verification system. States now have until January 1, 2020, to begin compliance with the EVV law. States can also apply for a good-faith extension that would extend the deadline until January 1, 2021.

While this comes as a relief to providers across the nation, it is important that all parties stay diligent in working with their state to secure systems that will suite their needs while meeting mandated requirements. Fortunately, the legislation signed into law this week mandates that input from the public is solicited to help ensure the thoughtful implementation of the EVV requirement.

This eBook reviews the different EVV solutions states have adapted, as well as their successes and failures. Most importantly, it arms providers with key questions they need to ask to ensure the state understands the practical issues that can arise from an EVV mandate.

When Rounding Rules Differ Between Billing and Payroll

In some states with EVV mandates, providers are losing money because they must pay their employees more than than can bill for. This happens when rounding rules in the EVV legislation differ from payroll rounding rules set by the labor department.

Most programs will only pay for services in 15-minute increments, but EVV solutions capture exact clock-in/out times. This means that if a caregiver clocks out at 11:14, the provider may not be allowed to bill the last 14 minutes – even though DOL regulations require the provider to pay the employee for those minutes.

Recapturing “Missing” Minutes

“Missing” minutes are those extra minutes that do not add up to a billable unit. While some states don’t allow providers to capture “missing” minutes, Missouri does. The state’s EVV legislation says:

“In no way shall this rule prohibit the
vendor/provider’s ability to accrue partial units pursuant to 13 CSR 70-91.”

The Missouri Department of Social Services says providers may let these minutes accrue until they add up to billable units. For example, if a caregiver works 143 minutes in a billing period, the provider will bill 9 units and rollover 8 minutes to the following period.

Unfortunately, providers who cannot rollover minutes to the following billing period must find creative ways to reconcile rounding discrepancies. For example, an EVV system like Agency Workforce Management warns employees to not clock-out before a unit is complete. The system may suggest that the employee wait a few more minute to clock out.

Leave a Comment

Does the EVV legislation in your state include different rounding rules? How do you avoid paying for more than you can bill?

EVV Challenges for Consumer Directed Services

Consumer-directed services offer the independence many individuals desire, while ensuring they get the care they need. However, these services fall under the reach of the federal EVV mandate. Because of their unique requirements, providers managing programs for consumer- or family-directed services face real compliance and billing challenges that complicate EVV implementations.

The purpose of CDS programs is to allow individuals to drive their own care. Therefore, an EVV system cannot compromise the consumers’ ability to do so. Two primary challenges that consumers face with EVV systems are ease of use and ability to approve timesheets. These hurdles cannot be overlooked when considering an EVV system.

Challenge #1: Ease of Use

An EVV system’s ease of use is essential in CDS programs because EVV success depends heavily on the client. Applied Self Direction, an arm of the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services, notes, “Technology is an essential tool, but people need to know how to use the tool to realize its benefits.” If consumers do not understand the EVV system, they will not enjoy its advantages.

The Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State (CDPAANYS) reinforces this view. In its recent report on EVV, the association states the importance of usability for an effective EVV system:

“In the end, an EVV system can only be as effective as your consumers and their PAs willingness, ability, and capacity to utilize it. Therefore, FIs should seek input from established groups of consumers before a system is chosen and implemented. When choosing a system, recognize that accessibility is a critical component, and that consumers and their PAs, like the rest of us, value highly both flexibility and privacy.

“Most importantly, it is important to remember that CDPA is based on the notion that the consumer, not an agency, recruits, hires, trains, supervises (including scheduling), and terminates their own staff. Any EVV solution must provide for a strong role for the consumer and the continued ability to perform these supervisory tasks.

“If this is accomplished, EVV can serve as not only a compliance with Federal mandates, but an effective means to efficiently track time and attendance and submit billing, streamlining operations and increasing responsiveness; a value to all.”

Challenge #2: Client Approval of Timesheets

Another obstacle is ensuring the billing process is prompt and accurate. Unlike traditional HCBS settings, this requires input from the consumer. As the director of his/her own care, the consumer must approve employee time and attendance records before they are converted into billing and payroll records. The problem is that not every EVV system has this capability.

Providers managing CDS programs must consider an EVV system’s capacity for client access before deciding to implement it. “A successful EVV system will provide a variety of accessible means for individuals to approve service hours, using both innovative and standard technologies,” according to Applied Self Direction. Such a system would allow mobile access for clients and/or their guardians to approve timesheets, communicate efficiently with employees, and make corrections when mistakes occur.

Explore Agency Workforce Management for CDS Programs

Fortunately, Agency Workforce Management is designed to support providers managing self-directed programs. Here are some ways our software may help you succeed under an EVV mandate:

  • Consumers

    • Review real time or after-the-fact multiple attendant attendance records
    • Includes Caller-ID, GPS or IP address information
    • Approve visits with option to add comment next to any visit
    • Automatically remind consumers, guardians or parents and provider if consumer fails to approve attendance in a timely manner
    • Reports of approved and unapproved records by consumer
  • Schedules

    • Review attendant schedules
    • Use calendar to check schedules
  • Attendants

    • Clock in/out using EVV compliant systems (landline or smart phone)
    • Enter documentation
    • Review attendance, schedules and more
    • Receive daily next shift reminders
  • Payroll

    • Eliminate the costs and risk of paper forms and data entry
    • Integrates with payroll
  • Billing

    • Streamline billing and improve cash flow
    • Integrates with billing