Association News

Nominations Are Now Being Accepted for the 2018 Awards Program

Nominate a deserving caregiver, employee, or volunteer today!

The Ohio Council for Home Care & Hospice awards program annually recognizes individuals and volunteers for their exemplary service and care in the home care and hospice industry. The dedication and compassionate care these individuals have displayed is to be commended. The 2018 recipients will be announced on September 12, 2018 at the Awards Luncheon, held in conjunction with the Annual Conference & Tradeshow.

  • Dorothy Royce Award: Named in honor of the Founding President of the OCHCH. This award is to acknowledge an individual that has worked hard to promote home care and hospice in the state of Ohio through OCHCH and the community setting. 
  • Award of Excellence: Recognizes the licensed professional who is outstanding in his/her field. This award recognizes two individuals - one in home care and one in hospice.
  • Caring Award: Presented to a caregiver who has exhibited outstanding courage and love to individual(s) in their care. This award recognizes two individuals - one in home care and one in hospice.
  • Homemaker/Aide of the Year: Recognizes the special individual who is an outstanding, personable, caring and dedicated caregiver. This award recognizes two individuals - one in home care and one in hospice.
  • Hospice Volunteer of the Year Award: The Hospice Volunteer of the Year is an award presented to a volunteer who has exhibited outstanding dedication, service, compassionate care and love to hospice patients and their families. 
  • Home Care and Hospice Hero Award: recognizes a public official who has made a significant contribution to the improvement and advancement of home care and hospice, and their accessibility to the public. The recipient must be a current or former public official (either elected or serving in a regulatory capacity).
  • Advocacy Champion Award: recognizes an individual who is an advocate for the industry and has made significant contributions to the improvement and advancement of home care and/or hospice through governmental and political involvement, leadership, and activism. 


Important New EVV Updates

Legal Impact on HIPPAA | EVV Lab | Implementation and Rule Delay | Changes to Edits

Over the past year, OCHCH has been advocating for changes to improve Ohio’s Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) system as well as providing our members the tools they need to come into compliance with this new federal mandate.

Based in large part to OCHCH’s efforts, we’re excited to announce some key updates and new changes to the EVV system, including:

  • Legal update on how EVV impacts HIPPA
  • ODM led “EVV Lab” at OCHCH’s Center for Excellence
  • Implementation and Rule Delay
  • Changes to EVV edits

Legal Update on How EVV Impacts HIPPA

During the first EVV Summit in December, OCHCH members asked the association to get an independent legal opinion on how EVV could impact home health agencies. The concern was that EVV would require agencies to provide front-line staff with new forms of Protected Health Information (PHI) in order for the system to work, thus creating greater exposure to a HIPPA violation or breach.

As a result, OCHCH worked with a HIPPA attorney from Bricker & Eckler in Columbus to determine the level of risk EVV poses to home health agencies due to the new PHI needs. The attorney concluded that ODM is within their authority to require the use of PHI—in this case PHI being the Medicaid ID. There is nothing we can do to challenge ODM’s requirement to use the Medicaid ID. However, the attorney also believes this requirement puts agencies at greater risk of a HIPAA violation or breach than they were prior to EVV. The good news is that we are able to address this issue.

Agencies are already required to use reasonable policies to protect PHI, and as long as those policies exist, agencies are protected from government action. As such, if an agency’s HIPAA policy is updated to address the new EVV risk, then they will be protected even if an employee violates the policy. Agencies will still be required to report a breach, but with an updated policy agencies should have no more liability with Medicaid ID and EVV than they do today.

OCHCH has created guidance explaining the issue in more detail and giving direction as to how agencies can protect themselves from issues with EVV due to EVV. Download the memo, Electronic Visit Verification and HIPAA: What Providers Need to Know.

ODM Led "EVV Lab" at OCHCH's Center for Excellence

In May, the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) will provide one-on-one technical assistance for providers with questions about using the Sandata system at the Center for Excellence in Columbus. ODM staff will be on-site to work directly with providers to address their specific questions and problems they’ve experienced since the go-live date in January.

The dates include:

  • May 1 from 12 to 4
  • May 3 from 9 to 1
  • May 7 from 9 to 1
  • May 11 from 12 to 4

ODM will be handling registration for these FREE sessions. They are putting the final details together. More information will be available soon on the ODM webpage. OCHCH will also send out more information once registration is open.

EVV Implementation and Rule Delay

On Wednesday, April 18, ODM announced that they are delaying and changing the implementation for EVV, including EVV rule changes. Originally, ODM had expected a “hard” implementation by turning-on the billing component of EVV on July 1—meaning that agencies claims would begin being impacted by their EVV utilization. Based in large part on OCHCH’s advocacy efforts, ODM has agreed to delay the implementation to August 1 and instead will use a “soft” implementation.

Beginning August 1, ODM will use a “pay and post” implementation process in which claims will be paid even if there are inconsistencies with the EVV data. Providers will need to be using EVV by August, but claims won’t be denied. Instead, ODM will post edit information detailing any inconsistencies that exist if the claim wouldn’t have been paid during live billing. It’s not clear when live billing will eventually go-live, but the new soft implementations approach will give providers more time to perfect their EVV processes.

ODM also announced they will delay changes to the EVV rule until later in the year. ODM recently made a couple of changes to the current EVV rule that eliminated the 90-day exception and included details on the Sandata smart phone app, but they’ve decided to wait to make any more changes to the rule until other issues are addressed, including the details of bringing other population on-line with EVV.

Changes to EVV Edits

ODM also announced Wednesday that in addition to reducing the list of exception codes, ODM is also turning-off the GPS exceptions all together. While providers will still be required to use GPS technology as part of their EVV component, providers will no longer be required to clear an exception relating specifically to GPS.

It’s not clear if ODM will turn-on the GPS exceptions codes again in the future. At least for the time being, this change will reduce the agency exception requirement, which is a positive development.

Alternative EVV Summit

After two successful EVV Summits, OCHCH is planning another event that will focus on alternative EVV vendors. Details on the Alternative EVV Summit are not yet available, but please stay tuned for more information. OCHCH will be announcing the date and offer registration very soon.

OCHCH will continue to engage ODM and keep you updated on developments related to EVV. If you have any questions, please contact OCHCH Policy & Advocacy Director Andrew Yogmour at or 614-885-0434, ext. 208.

Understanding the Fair Labor Standards Act Workshop | May 22

Presented by U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division representatives

Understanding Fair Labor Standards ActThe Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state and local governments. Is your agency following this law correctly? Violations may result in civil or criminal action and hefty fines.

OCHCH has teamed up with representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division to provide the important information you need to know! This workshop will provide:

  • An overview of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 
  • Explain what agencies need to do to stay in compliance,
  • Offer options to help agencies stay in compliance, and
  • Discuss hot topics and common areas of non-compliance

Attendees will be provided resources to take back to their agency and share with staff, including Fact Sheet #53 – The Health Care Industry and Hours Worked, Fact Sheet #54 – The Health Care Industry and Calculating Overtime Pay, and more!

Who Should Attend: Administrators, Directors, Clinical Managers, Human Resource Managers, and Owners 

Find Out More & Register

2018 Regional Meetings Provide Updates & Networking

May Meetings Announced for the NW, SE, and NE Ohio Regions

Region Map Rev 3.15OCHCH has revamped our Regional Meetings to include a Regulatory Update, a Power Breakfast and an After Hours event for each region. Events will be scheduled throughout the year in each region.

Make plans to attend these upcoming Regional Meeting Events:

After Hours | NW Ohio Regional Meeting at Maumee Bay Brew Pub in Toledo - May 10, 5 pm - 8 pm

Power Breakfast | SE Ohio Regional Meeting at Bob Evans in Athens - May 15, 8 am - 9:30 am

Regulatory Update | NE Ohio Regional Meeting at Kent Free Library in Kent - May 17, 11:30 am - 2 pm

These events are free. Registration is required. Join us for important updates and networking opportunities. Special thanks to VonLehman and Therapy Advantage for sponsoring these events.




Emergency Preparedness Six-Part Webinar Recording

Get your agency ready for this new CoP!

NAHC Emergency Preparedness Webinar Recording
Is your agency prepared for a natural disaster? How about a fire?  The new Emergency Preparedness Requirements, which took effect on November 15, 2017, require home health and hospice providers to develop an emergency preparedness plan and implement policies and procedures to carry out that plan. Surveyors have begun evaluating your emergency preparedness plans. Is your agency ready?
OCHCH is pleased to offer the Emergency Preparedness Requirements Six-Part Webinar Recording through a partnership with NAHC. OCHCH members can save $200 on this training by entering the member discount code when you register.
This webinar series offers in-depth knowledge, including:
  • An overview of the new requirements
  • Starting the agency specific plan
  • Development of policies and procedures
  • Communication
  • Testing and training

Learn more, find the discount code, and purchase the webinar recording.


More Than 90 Attended EVV Summit

Learn about 3 changes to the rule and view a video from the event

OCHCH Letter to JCARR and EVV Summit

 EVV Summit Photo

On December 6, the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) joined OCHCH for the EVV Summit, sponsored by Alora Healthcare, Brightree, CellTrak, and Sandata. More than 90 OCHCH members gathered to learn more about the implementation of the electronic visit verification system going into effect on January 8, 2018.

Click Here to watch the event in segments on our YouTube channel.

Through OCHCH's advocacy efforts and testimony provided by our members at the November 17th rules hearing, ODM filed a revised version of the EVV Rule, 5160-1-40, on November 21, 2017. The following changes were made:

  1. Language stating that claims would not be paid if the time on the claim did not match the time of the visit in the EVV system was removed.
  2. Language was added to allow telephony as the primary data collection method for alternative EVV data collection modules until January 1, 2019. After this date, providers will have to use a GPS based system to collect the EVV data.
  3. The specified data elements that are required for individuals and direct care workers were added to the rule.

As a result of the EVV Summit, ODM has agreed to continue to work with OCHCH to address concerns about the EVV rule. Due to the need to begin testing the system on January 8, 2018, OCHCH has agreed not to testify against the EVV rule at the JCARR hearing on Monday, December 11. Read the letter OCHCH sent to JCARR.

While we are no longer requesting a delay, OCHCH will continue to advocate for our members on the issue and engage ODM to improve the EVV rule. While we remain concerned about several aspects of the rule, the rule has to be refiled to accommodate future phases of the EVV implementation. We will use that as an opportunity to advocate for any additional changes needed.

We will keep you updated on this issue. 


Introducing Webinar Bundles

Purchase a package and Save!

Webinar Bundles

Webinar Bundles SlideWebinar Bundles are available in packages of 6, 12, and 24 webinars. Topics and titles will be added throughout the year.

Webinars are offered from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays.

For your convenience, a promotional code will be provided for your use to register online for the webinar of your choice. For each webinar selected, you will be able to attend the live webinar and receive a recording of the program at no extra cost. View Webinar Bundles Order Form for more details.


More Than 80 Attend EVV Rules Public Hearing on November 17

Thank you to all who attended and testified!

Thanks for helping Fill the Room at EVV Rules Public Hearing  

On November 17, more than 80 people attended and 16 people testified at the public hearing to voice their concerns about high administrative costs, the potential negative impact on quality care, and the need for more flexibility for providers. To read OCHCH Executive Director Joe Russell's testimony click here.

Our hope is that the strong turnout demonstrates to ODM how serious this issue is for our industry and that they will be more open to working with us to make EVV work for providers and the people we care for.

About EVV

Starting January 8, 2018, ODM will require all home care providers for State Plan Home Health Aide, State Plan Home Health Nursing, Private Duty Nursing (PDN), Ohio Home Care Waiver Nursing, Ohio Home Care Waiver Personal Care Aide, Home Care Attendant, and RN Assessment to use an Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) system. If you provide any of these services you must use a state approved EVV system or you will not get paid for that service.

EVV Training

ODM has contracted with Sandata Technologies LLC to deliver Ohio’s EVV system, as well as to provide program orientation and training to providers. At least one representative of your agency must complete all required training to receive your login credentials to the Sandata system. Find out more about training.




Presenting the 2017 Outstanding Individuals in Home Care & Hospice Award Winners

2017 Award Winners

The Ohio Council for Home Care & Hospice (OCHCH) presented the Outstanding Individuals in Home Care and Hospice Awards at its annual conference in Columbus on September 20, 2017. The awards recognize individuals and volunteers for the exemplary service and care they provide.

Craig Smith, Esq. was presented with the Dorothy Royce Award. The award is named in honor of the founding president of OCHCH and acknowledges an individual that has worked hard to promote home care and hospice in the state of Ohio. Smith recently retired as General Counsel at TSO Management d.b.a Interim HealthCare in Columbus. 

Judy Fisher, STNA, received the Homemaker/Aide of the Year Award in Home Care. Fisher serves as a home care associate at Home Care by Black Stone in Cincinnati. Judy has more than 20 years of caring for the elderly and disabled.

The Homemaker/Aide of the Year in Hospice was presented to Tabetha Morelock. Morelock has worked as an STNA with Hospice of Southwest Ohio for over six years.

Beth Batten-Sidle, a nurse at University Optioncare, received the Caring Award for home care.

Sharon Smith was honored with the Caring Award for hospice. Smith was nominated by Hospice of Southwest Ohio.

The Award of Excellence recognizes a licensed professional in home care and hospice who is outstanding in their field. This year’s winner is Tomi Meyer, a nurse with Community Health Professionals in Paulding.

Susan Culler Soden received the Hospice Volunteer of the Year Award. Soden volunteers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Homecare & Hospice in Columbus. The award recognizes a hospice volunteer who has exhibited outstanding dedication, service, compassionate care and love to hospice patients and families.

OCHCH Names Joe Russell as Executive Director

OCHCH Names Joe Russell Executive Director
Joe Russell PhotoThe Ohio Council for Home Care and Hospice (OCHCH) has selected former House aide and lobbyist Joe Russell to serve as its new executive director. Prior to joining OCHCH, Russell served as the director of policy and advocacy for the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (OACB). Previous to OACB, Russell served as the director of government affairs in the Columbus office of Strategic Health Care, a national consulting firm specializing in health care policy analysis and government advocacy. Russell also served as senior legislative aide to former House Majority Floor Leader, and current Director of Medicaid, Barbara Sears.
"His energy and experience will be instrumental in guiding OCHCH to effectively serve the advocacy, regulatory, and educational needs of our members at both the state and national level" said Deborah Albaugh, OCHCH Board Chair. In his new position, Russell will lead the organization's management team in coordinating its strategic initiatives on behalf of the association's more than 600 home care, hospice, and palliative care member agencies and programs.
"I'm really excited for the opportunity to lead this association" Russell said. "With the future of the American health care system in flux, I look forward to ensuring that the OCHCH membership has a strong voice in the discussion. Most importantly, I look forward to the challenge of making health care at home a viable option for all Ohioans."
Russell holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Toledo. He resides in London, Ohio where he also serves as President of City Council.
View an introduction video from Joe.

Trending Now

 Trending Now