Stop Geo Tracking with Electronic Visit verification of Disabled

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As citizens of the United States we are guaranteed the same freedoms as anyone in America. We are disabled but we are not criminals and shouldn’t be treated as such. Due to regulations put out by the The 21st Century Cures Act of 2016 our right to live freely in our homes is being jeopardized.

The Cures Act is a Mental Health Bill. It also involves use of technology and apps for varying degrees of healthcare. This is how Electronic Visit Verification was added into this bill .

The language of this bill suggested the use electronic visit verification for “Mental Health Home Care” Services. After this bill was passed, the language was misinterpreted causing Information Technology companies that promote software like Electronic visit Verification to interpret this to be “All home Health care” services. A misinterpretation or maybe a loophole has caused some havoc on the disability community.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services thought this would be useful to cut down on fraud. While there are many statistics about fraud, the statistic are broad, lacking relevant information that narrows down a specific type of fraud within home care. Since the goal is to cut down on fraud; CMS has put rules in place for states to implement EVV into home and community based waivers funded by Medicaid. All states are set to have EVV implemented by 2019 or lose 1% of Medicaid Funding.

To cut down on fraud, CMS has contracted with companies like Sandata to force states to comply with this ruling. They are requiring Consumers and providers to have their location noted with services. Sandata and other technology companies have taken it to the extreme. Many of the devices have GPS software inside of them. Adding the GPS component, makes one wonder if this is still a time clock or another way to track the movements of disabled people. This is concerning to many consumers, families and providers in the home care setting.

We have a crisis with the shortage of healthcare workers as it is. This technology and use of geo tracking can create catastrophe within the home care community. The loss of providers could cause people to end up in institutions or nursing facilities. This alone could be detrimental as there are not enough nursing facilities to house the thousands of clients in each state the rely on HCBS waivers.

Electronic Visit Verification is violation of my rights and any others. We are disabled we are not criminals. To be monitored electronically is violation of the American’s with Disabilities Act of 1997. It is in violation of Olmstead Law from the Supreme Court ruling of 1999. Also the 2016 U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services rule that a person isn’t required to be home-bound to receive Medicaid funded services.

In some states consumers were being told by their state Medicaid office that initially the device would not work outside the home. This would create problems for consumers who have activities in their communities, when providers take clients to medical appointments as well as challenges for tasks that require the aide to work outside the home including activities such as grocery shopping, laundry, and other errands.

Some consumers are being told that if they wanted an ice cream cone from local ice cream shop, in order for them to obtain it that their provider would need to clock out. These providers aren’t going to work for free. They shouldn’t be required to do so.

In some states, the waiver programs have cut out services like grocery shopping leaving consumers no access to obtain food with an aide’s help. This is wrong.  There are many who fear this happening in their states as well. We understand cuts, trying to stop fraud and waste. It is unacceptable for the government to limit, track or even stop services that are provided under our home and community based waivers.

This technology also opens the door to crimes related to information technology. Identity theft is on the rise more and more each day. No system is guaranteed to be free from hackers. It is proven day after day. Is the government prepared for the data breaches that can happen? Are they prepared for the effect it could have on America’s most fragile and vulnerable citizens? I think not! They are sold on the idea that this a solid system. Nothing really is.  

This technology also discriminates against working families and consumers with speech and cognitive disabilities. To have a device that requires voice verification or signature for every visit to  start and end the shifts isn’t ideal for many. It is different for a family member or consumer to sign a piece of paper at the end of every day than to have to verify every little detail on a case with three visits in one day. Many families must work to provide for their families and this constant need for verification by multiplication could be disastrous for anyone in their situation.

As we think of the idea that we are working with families we must remember that many of the consumers reside at private residences. Even though their care is being paid for by Medicaid; it doesn’t warrant the right for their location to be GPS tracked. It doesn’t warrant the right for the government to know one’s every activity in their community as well. It is clearly an invasion of our privacy. People might think that because we have the government offering care they can know whatever they want. This isn’t true we still have the right to privacy and to carry out our lives as normal citizens.

This technology also discriminates against consumers and providers who are survivors of domestic violence and violent crimes. Some may argue that the average cell phone gives away more details than this device. The cell phone isn’t loaded with social security #’s, GPS coordinates, healthcare and medical information. If this device fell into the wrong hands it could create more damage than intended to create. States are unwilling to sign documents of liability for consumers and providers who fall into this category. Their unwillingness to sign a a paper of liability leads me to believe that their level of understanding about information technology crimes is nowhere near a level it should be.

Several advocacy groups around the United States were opposed to EVV before it became it made it's way to become part the Cures Act.  It was opposed by the National Center for Independent Living. Their comments on EVV can be found through this link http://www.advocacymonitor.com/ncil-position-opposing-electronic-visit-verification/

 So today I ask you to sign my petition to stop this electronic visit verification. I am a citizen of the United States. I am held to same laws as anyone else in America. I ask you would let us be free in our homes rather than jeopardize our care.

 



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