ANCOR-Led EVV Delay Bill Passes Congress, Heads to President’s Desk
ANCOR mobilizes thousands of advocates to ensure EVV requirements are not implemented too quickly and with limited guidance
WASHINGTON, DC – Late Tuesday evening, the U.S. Senate passed H.R.6042 through unanimous consent. Among other provisions, the bill would delay the implementation of new electronic visit verification (EVV) requirements for home and community-based services (HCBS) by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The bipartisan bill delays implementation by one year until January 2020 and permits an additional one-year good faith delay, allowing states to request an extension for implementation until January 2021. H.R.6042 also mandates that CMS convene stakeholders to discuss implementation. The bill will now be sent to President Trump’s desk, where it is expected the president will sign the bill into law.
ANCOR and its members have voiced concerns about the implementation of EVV, starting in 2017 following passage of the requirement under the 21st Century Cures Act, and as recently as May 2018, when CMS first issued guidance on the 2016 legislation. Due to the broad application of the requirements, delayed guidance and ongoing confusion among states, ANCOR was compelled to address the issue by pursuing legislative action.
“We had been in conversation with CMS to voice the concerns of our community of providers of supports and services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but simply could not anticipate the broad application of the EVV legislation nor the limited guidance CMS would provide,” said Barbara Merrill, ANCOR CEO. “We are especially grateful to Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) for taking the lead in the House, and to Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for leading Senate passage. We’re also incredibly grateful to ANCOR’s members, who truly stepped up: over 2,000 advocates sent more than 8,300 messages to Capitol Hill, advocating for a better approach to avoid unintended disruption to critical community services.”
The passage of H.R.6042 was made possible through ANCOR’s coordinated effort to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill, as well as through the mobilization of more than 2,000 advocates from within ANCOR’s membership and beyond. “We knew that a delay bill would have to pass quickly in order to be effective,” said Sarah Meek, ANCOR’s Director of Legislative Affairs. “The goal among bipartisan leaders in the House and the Senate, as well as a broad array of stakeholders, was focused on ensuring a process that would avoid undue harm and result in the best possible outcome for people with disabilities and the providers who support them.”
Although advocates have much to celebrate today, the swift passage of the EVV delay is one step of a larger effort to ensure final EVV implementation is done well—carried out in a way that avoids disrupting crucial HCBS programs. As ANCOR discussed in its formal letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, the tight timeframe on which EVV was set to be implemented is one of several of the association’s concerns. ANCOR plans to seek additional administrative action on the legislation to ensure that it's implemented with the best interests of I/DD service providers and the people they support in mind.
For nearly 50 years, the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ancor.org) has been a leading advocate for the critical role service providers play in enriching the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). As a national nonprofit trade association, ANCOR represents 1,400+ organizations employing more than a half-million professionals who together serve more than a million individuals with I/DD. Our mission is to advance the ability of our members to support people with I/DD to fully participate in their communities.