The State of America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis 2022

The longstanding direct support workforce crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to closures of critically needed services and a denial of access to community-based supports.
Access the Report
Connections - 05.31.22

How Agency Workforce Management Can Work For You

Share this page
In Partnership with

by John Graham, MITC

COVID-19 has highlighted the need for agencies to provide the individuals they serve with new resources. For providers to stay relevant and compete, they need to optimize technology to better connect them with the individuals they serve. EVV is making this even more important as services are now being tracked in real time and providers cannot afford to provide services outside of an authorization.

In addition, providers need to know whether the costs of providing service to a consumer are being covered by the revenue. Otherwise the provider risks running a deficit. Agency Workforce Management provides a number of solutions that can be deployed separately or together depending upon the program being managed.

Automated Authorization Utilization Alerts for Consumers

Individuals or parents/guardians can receive regular updates on the utilization of their authorizations by text or email. The updates can be triggered on different frequencies using different authorizations (Weekly, Monthly, Annual). SMS text messaging has taken off during the pandemic.

Prior to 2020, phone calls were the default way for providers to contact their consumers. Even before COVID-19, this mode of communication was not reliable, as only 18% of people said they listen to a voicemail from a number they do not immediately recognize. However, due to acceleration during the pandemic, most consumers now say they prefer text communications with their providers because they are quick, convenient, and easy to respond to without waiting on hold or navigating a phone system.

In one study, 80% of consumers said they wanted to receive text messages from their providers with reminders. In another study, 84% said they preferred text messages over other types of communication such as phone or email because they felt texting was faster and more efficient for getting a response. When getting started with any reminder system, it is critical to test out each reminder or notification in advance to ensure that everything is working properly.

Consumers will lose confidence if they are sent messages that are inappropriate or do not make sense. For privacy and security it is important that the consumer or responsible party has authorized the communications by SMS or email.

Restricted Clock-in by Authorization and Overtime with EVV

It is important that services are not provided when an authorization is exhausted. In addition, providers may need to restrict caregivers from clocking-in when in overtime. Agency Workforce Management supports both options with real time alerts to the caregiver’s phone and the ability to reject the clock-in. These capabilities can be more important in self-directed programs where providers do not directly employ the caregiver.

Consumer Self Service

The consumer portal is a secure online website that gives consumers convenient, 24-hour access to their services from anywhere with an internet connection. The main benefit of a consumer portal is that it improves communication between providers and consumers. Individuals receiving service can view and/or approve attendance relating to services provided, view schedules (if used) relating to upcoming visits and services, provide access to graphs and reports that show their authorization utilization.

Self-Direction

A consumer portal is most important for self-directed services where individuals are managing their own services. Consumer View provides additional features for self-direction, including the ability to approve PTO requests from car givers and approve their expense claims, such as mileage. Where the authorization may permit (New York), individuals can also submit expense claims for reimbursement and rebilling by the agency. Others involved in care coordination, such as brokers and fiscal intermediaries, can submit claims for hourly services provided.

Cost of Supporting a Consumer and Profitability

Agency Workforce Management allows providers to track the cost, revenue and profit from providing services to each consumer. This allows providers to focus on consumers who are the best for that provider to provide services to. Consumers in certain areas or requiring certain services may not always be a good fit for one provider but a better fit for another provider. Identifying the profitable consumers to provide services to helps ensure the agency is financially sustainable. This data is very important right now for two reasons: (1) EVV will change the whole dynamic of HCBS services, and (2) the labor shortage and rising payroll costs mean there is less room for error.

Leveraging Technology To Attract, Retain and Manage HCBS Consumers

John Graham is the CEO & Software Architect at MITC.