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In the various roles he has undertaken through the years, Val J. Halamandaris has been a singular driving force behind the policy and program initiatives resulting in the recognition of home health care as a viable alternative to institutionalization. His dedication to consumer advocacy, which enhances the quality of life and dignity of those receiving home health care, merits VNA HealthCare Group’s highest recognition and deepest respect. 

VNA HealthCare Group

I have the highest respect for them, especially for the nurses, aides and therapists, who devote their lives to caring for people with disabilities, the infirm and dying Americans.  There are few more noble professions.

President Barack Obama

Home health care agencies do such a wonderful job in this country helping people to be able to remain at home and allowing them to receive services

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Chair, Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee

Heath care at home…is something we need more of, not less of.  Let us make a commitment to preventive and long-term care.  Let us encourage home care as an alternative to nursing homes and give folks a little help to have their parents there.

Former President Bill Clinton

Home care is a combination of compassion and efficiency.  It is less expensive than institutional care...but at the same time it is a more caring, human, intimate experience, and therefore it has a greater human’s a big mistake not to try to maximize it and find ways to give people the home care option over either nursing homes, hospitals or other institutions

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

Medicaid covers long-term care, but only for low-income families.  And Medicare only pays for care that is connected to a hospital discharge....our health care system must cover these vital services...[and] we should promote home-based care, which most people prefer, instead of the institutional care that we emphasize now.

Former U.S. Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-CD)

We need incentives to...keep people in home health care settings...It’s dramatically less expensive than long term care.

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ)


Home care is clearly the wave of the future. It’s clearly where patients want to be cared for. I come from an ethnic family and when a member of our family is severely ill, we would never consider taking them to get institutional care. That’s true of many families for both cultural and financial reasons. If patients have a choice of where they want to be cared for, where it’s done the right way, they choose home.

Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services

A couple of years ago, I spent a little bit of time with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and its president, Val J. Halamandaris, and I was just blown away. What impressed me so much was that they talked about what they do as opposed to just the strategies of how to deal with Washington or Sacramento or Albany or whatever the case may be. Val is a fanatic about care, and it comes through in every way known to mankind. It comes through in the speakers he invites to their events; it comes through in all the stuff he shares.

Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

Val’s home care organization brings thousands of caregivers together into a dynamic organization that provides them with valuable resources and tools to be even better in their important work. He helps them build self-esteem, which leads to self-motivation.

Mike Vance, former Dean of Disney and author of Think Out of the Box

Val is one of the greatest advocates for seniors in America. He goes beyond the call of duty every time.

Arthur S. Flemming, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare

Val has brought the problems, the challenges, and the opportunities out in the open for everyone to look at. He is a visionary pointing the direction for us. 

Margaret (Peg) Cushman, Professor of Nursing and former President of the Visiting Nurses Association

Although Val has chosen to stay in the background, he deserves much of the credit for what was accomplished both at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, where he was closely associated with me and at the House Select Committee on Aging, where he was Congressman Claude Pepper’s senior counsel and closest advisor. He put together more hearings on the subject of aging, wrote more reports, drafted more bills, and had more influence on the direction of events than anyone before him or since.

Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Val’s most important contribution is pulling together all elements of home health care and being able to organize and energize the people involved in the industry.

Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

Kathleen Gardner Cravedi, former Staff Director of the House Select Committee on Aging

Without your untiring support and active participation, the voices of people advocating meaningful and compassionate health care reform may not have been heard by national leaders.

Michael Sullivan, Former Executive Director, Indiana Association for Home Care

All of us have been members of many organizations and NAHC is simply the best there is. NAHC aspires to excellence in every respect; its staff has been repeatedly honored as the best in Washington; the organization lives by the highest values and has demonstrated a passionate interest in the well-being of patients and providers.

Elaine Stephens, Director of Home Care of Steward Home Care/Steward Health Systems and former NAHC C

Home care increasingly is one of the basic building blocks in the developing system of long-term care.  On both economic and recuperative bases, home health care will continue to grow as an essential service for individuals, for families and for the community as a whole.

Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

NCOA is excited to be part of this great event and honored to have such influential award winners in the field of aging.

National Council of Aging

CMS Plans Hospice Information Set Collection to begin July 2014

May 14, 2013 08:56 AM

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) indicated in the proposed rule, FY2014 Hospice Wage Index Update, that it would make information related to the proposed Hospice Information Set (HIS), a patient-level data set, available. Additionally, CMS stated that it would seek input on the additional burden this may impose on hospice providers.  The package of materialsrelated to the proposed patient-level data set is now available.  Included in the package are the admission and discharge HIS forms, definitions and descriptions of the components of the HIS, and CMS’ Supporting Statement.

There are 26 questions on the Admission HIS and 12 questions on the Discharge HIS.  CMS’ total estimate of time for completion of the Admission HIS is 19 minutes and 10 minutes for the Discharge HIS.  With the data collected on admission and discharge through the HIS, CMS will be able to calculate the hospice’s results for seven National Quality Forum (NQF)-approved measures that are proposed in the Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP). 

The seven measures are:

  1. NQF #1617: Patients Treated with an Opioid who are Given a Bowel Regimen
  2. NQF #1634: Pain Screening
  3. NQF #1637: Pain Assessment           
  4. NQF #1638: Dyspnea Treatment          
  5. NQF #1639: Dyspnea Screening
  6. NQF #1641: Treatment Preferences           
  7. NQF #1647: Beliefs/Values Addressed (if desired by the patient)

The data details of each of the measures are found in NAHC’s HQRP Reference Table.

CMS proposes implementation of the Hospice Information Set starting in July 2014.  Hospices will submit data collected on the HIS electronically to CMS, and CMS will make submission software available for the HIS to hospices at no cost. Hospice programs would be evaluated for purposes of the quality reporting program based on whether or not they submit data, but not on their performance level on required measures. There would be a 2 percent reduction in a hospice’s market basket update if it fails to submit data.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has noted in its review of the HIS documents and the HQRP Reference Table that the calculation for NQF #1647 requires the extraction of medical record documentation of events that can occur at any time during the patient’s stay in hospice.  Specifically, this measure asks if there is a documented discussion of spiritual/religious concerns or documentation that the patient/family did not want to discuss.  To be included in the measure calculation, such discussions or documentation of refusal can occur at admission or anytime thereafter during a patient’s enrollment in hospice care. 

In the HIS-Admission form, there is a question that would capture this information. However, there is not a corresponding question on the HIS-Discharge form.  NAHC has also noted that some of the timeframes specific to measures may not be collected in the HIS-Admission. 

NHC will be submitting comments on this issue – and as always - appreciates feedback from the hospice community as NAHC’s official comments for submission are being developed.  CMS is seeking comment on the accuracy of the time and burden estimates, as well as on any suggestions for improvement of the forms.  If you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact either Katie Wehri ( or Theresa Forster (




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