Do Providers Need Another EHR Software to Evaluate?

In 2019, several CEO’s at different agencies in Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania asked me essentially the same question:

 “Why don’t you have an EHR?”

I gave the same answer I have given for many years.

Agency Workforce Management is about Time & Attendance, Documentation, Scheduling, Payroll Integration, Billing, HR, Training – everything about managing staffAnyway, there are lots of good EHR products out there. What’s wrong with what you have?”

The answer I got surprised me:

“Our EHR is fine but it does too much; It’s too expensive and complicated. We need something straightforward and inexpensive – why don’t you make us something?”

So that’s what we have done!

At ANCOR in late April, MITC will unveil Client Profiles – the latest addition to Agency Workforce Management!

When MITC contacted providers late last year to float the idea, we got a positive response. Many providers applied to join an Early Adopter Program, ten of which have been selected. These providers will collaborate with MITC and work directly with our agency software developers once a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is created. This will help MITC ensure v.1, due for general release in June 2020 and v.2, due for release in October 2020, are closely aligned with agency needs and priced right. During 2020, MITC will commit agile software development resources to respond rapidly to provider needs with the goal of wrapping up the bulk of the development by the end of quarter 3 2020.

Three developers in the USA will be working on this project. They have a lot of experience in creating great software for agencies, and we know they will do as good a job as they did with mySchedules in 2018-2019.

Because of all the activity associated with EVV, MITC was reluctant to make this investment at this point in time. However, MITC’s market research found that many of the providers most effected by EVV were exactly the sort of providers who could benefit from “EHR light”. MITC has hired additional staff to provide extra support services for EVV.

We don’t intend to go head-to-head with full service EHR products. Client Profiles will be designed for providers managing HCBS and Day and Vocational programs whose EHR needs are more limited than providers managing ICF’s, large group homes, or intensive supported living programs.

We will also price position Client Profiles in the “cheap and cheerful” range: straightforward to use, functional, and relatively inexpensive compared to other, more complex EHR systems.

Hopefully, along with existing applications like myCommunications and Documentation, Client Profiles will prove to be of value to many agencies. All of here at MITC are excited to find out.

John Graham
MITC CEO and Software Architect

DSP’s Should Be Paid At Least 125% of Minimum Wage

In order to attract caregivers, Maine’s labor commission is calling for something radical: a requirement to ensure they’re paid at least 125% of the state’s existing minimum wage.

Overall, state-mandated minimum wage hikes have become somewhat commonplace in recent years. At least 21 states, for example, started 2020 with higher minimum wages than the previous year.

A legally mandated home care-specific boost to a given minimum wage, however, is a relatively new concept. However it is a long standing tradition Australia where the minimum wage is set by profession. Direct care workers earn $18.82 an hour to $22.84 depending upon skills plus overtime after 38 hours.

Maine’s Commission to Study Long-term Care Workforce Issues, a group established in 2019 to study direct care labor shortages, shared its recommendation in a new report.

The Maine legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee voted unanimously to push forward accompanying legislation that would back the proposal on the same day.

Raising caregiver wages is just one of a number of recommendations made by the commission.

The group also called for a public service campaign that promotes direct care worker jobs as a viable career option, industry-specific state-sponsored job fairs, direct care worker training and education programs, and student loan repayment eligibility. The commission also recommended the creation of a long-term care workforce oversight committee.

In addition to the previously mentioned plans, the long-term care commission also called for an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates to better reflect providers’ costs. Nationwide, the delivery of home care is becoming more expensive, propelled upward by minimum wage hikes, more paid-time-off rules, electronic visit verification (EVV) requirements and background checks.

While the Home Care & Hospice Alliance of Maine was supportive of the proposal, it did so partially under the notion that home care wages would rise in tandem with reimbursement rates. If that didn’t happen, a caregiver floor wage of 125% of Maine’s minimum wage would likely prove catastrophic for home care providers.

Just last week, the Maine-based nonprofit Home Care for Maine announced it would be closing its doors in April due to financial troubles brought on by a recent minimum wage raise. The shutdown will leave almost 600 patients without home care.

In 2017, Maine’s minimum wage increased from $7.50 to $9.00; it then spiked to $10.00 in 2018 and to $11.00 the following year. Currently, the state’s minimum wage is $12.00, a result of another hike in 2020.

For context, 125% of Maine’s 2020 minimum wage would mean a caregiver baseline of at least $15 an hour.