by Tim Rowan, Editor Emeritus

In September, we posted the announcement from HHAeXchange about their inking a deal to provide EMR and EVV software to Gentiva Personal Home Care. We had some questions about the partnership and both HHAeXchange president Stephen Vacarro and Gentiva president Richard Bruner took the time to speak with us.

Background and Context

Gentiva Health Services is a provider of Home Health and Hospice services. Headquartered in Atlanta, the company became an independent business unit of Kindred Healthcare in October, 2014. At the time of the acquisition, it had been a Fortune 100 company with over $1.7 billion in annual revenue.

Today, Gentiva provides in-home care to over half a million patients annually through over 420 locations in 40 states.

The Rowan Report: Can you provide an update about Gentiva and your role?

Bruner: Gentiva Health Services is a network of compassionate caregivers, clinicians, support personnel, and information technology teams who provide superior outcomes for patients across the post-acute continuum. Originally part of Olsten Corporation, Gentiva officially became an independent company on Aug. 6, 1999. Our services include personal care, palliative care, and hospice care. Through our personal care offerings, we deliver services to patients across Texas, Arkansas, Arizona, California, North Carolina and Missouri.

Through my role as Gentiva’s personal home care president, I oversee strategic planning for the company’s personal care programs, establish protocols and quality standards, drive key initiatives, build sustainable growth, and am responsible for day-to-day administrative operations.

RR: How did the partnership with HHAeXchange and Gentiva come about?

Bruner: Gentiva connected with HHAeXchange years ago through mutual industry contacts and kept up with the company’s progress. Later, when we began to evaluate our Texas agencies’ need for a new solution, we spent 18 months investigating and vetting major vendors in the homecare management software space.

Seeking a third-party, EVV-agnostic, cloud-based system, we narrowed the pool to two vendors who could meet our company’s needs while enhancing caregivers’ mobile experiences through simplified scheduling and coordination options. However, cost effectiveness and EVV prowess factored heavily into the final decision, which led to our selection of HHAeXchange.

RR: The Texas market is notoriously difficult. How does HHAeXchange differ from previous providers that gave up and left the state?

Vacarro: Texas is a large state with hundreds of thousands of patients receiving homecare on a regular basis from an incredibly broad roster of agencies and providers. While no two situations are alike and no two agencies do things exactly the same way, there is a commonality: the services they provide are incredibly valuable.

Because HHAeXchange understands the complex needs of homecare recipients and the critical work agency staffers are tasked with, we put considerable thought into the development of our EVV platform, its implementation, and its continued usage across Texas. We intend to differentiate ourselves and surpass standards set by our predecessors through our commitment to functionality.

We can’t custom-make solutions based on agencies’ and patients’ individual needs, but we can provide a platform with features versatile enough to be convenient and helpful to any user, no matter their agency size, location, workload, technological expertise or experience.

The HHAeXchange team also understands the importance of laying a solid foundation on which to build a new partnership and preparing for key transitions. So, for months ahead of our launch in Texas, our team spent a considerable amount of time hosting informational sessions for caregivers and agency owners and leading road shows throughout the state, demonstrating the EVV platform, answering questions, and getting more acquainted with the market.

I should add that, as part of our partnership with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), our Portal is available at no cost to program providers, financial management services agencies, and Consumer Directed Services (CDS) employers. We’ve taken steps to offer simple and convenient access, enabling homecare providers to easily meet Texas state requirements while offering a streamlined experience for both back-office staff and service providers.

RR: Is HHAeXchange compatible with EVV aggregators in all of the states where Gentiva operates?

Vacarro: Yes, HHAeXchange seamlessly connects payers and providers across the homecare ecosystem. Our platform allows for the accurate capture and transmission of all visit data, regardless of which aggregator a state selects and which EVV vendor and tools a provider uses.

We regularly partner with Medicaid agencies and MCOs in open and closed model states, where our platform is utilized to submit agencies’ data to another aggregator. This is how we work in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and now in Texas, for example.

RR: Thank you, gentlemen. For background on the HHAeXchange-Gentiva partnership, see our September posting of their joint news release at: