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Testimonials

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. 

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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.

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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

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

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 element...it’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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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National Council of Aging

Health 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.

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Former President Bill Clinton

OIG Semiannual Report Addresses Home Health

June 6, 2013 04:25 PM

Last week the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued its Semiannual Report to Congress. This report summarizes activities of the Office of Inspector General (OIG), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for the 6-month period that ended March 31, 2013. The Report addressed work of the OIG in fulfilling its responsibilities, such as to identify and investigate fraud and abuse, assign individuals to the Program Exclusion list, and approve and monitor Corporate Integrity Agreements.

In the report the OIG projected expected recoveries of about $3.8 billion for the first half of 2013 including over $521 million in audit receivables and about $3.28 billion in investigative receivables. In addition, 1,661 exclusions from Federal health programs, 484 criminal actions against individuals or entities that engaged in crimes against HHS programs; and 240 civil actions were reported on. Although no hospice providers were identified in the Report, the results of a number of OIG home health federal Medicare and Medicaid program initiatives are detailed.

HOME HEALTH INVESTIGATIONS

According to the OIG, “HHAs are considered to be particularly vulnerable to fraud, waste, and abuse” resulting in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) designation of newly enrolling HHAs as high-risk providers.

The Semiannual Report referenced a 2012 OIG report where they “found one in four HHAs had questionable billing” concentrated in certain geographic areas. The report also referenced findings of a study of two Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC), stating that they “prevented $275 million in home health agency (HHA) improper payments.” Additionally, although Medicare Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPIC) “did not identify any HHA-specific vulnerabilities and varied substantially in their efforts to detect and deter fraud” all four ZPICs recommended administrative actions and law enforcement in a number of cases. The OIG also reported that, in 2011, Medicare inappropriately paid five HHAs with suspended or revoked billing privileges.

On the Medicaid front, the OIG referenced a New York analysis of Federal Medicaid reimbursement of home health services. According to a review, 17 claims were improperly claims where the “plan of care was not reviewed every 60 days” as required by regulation.

After projecting these findings to the universe of claims, the OIG estimated that the State improperly claimed $69.1 million in Federal Medicaid reimbursement between January 2007 and December 2009.

In its review of the Medicaid Third Party Liability the OIG found that, although States had increased Medicaid savings from third-party liability recoveries they still face longstanding challenges with identification and recovery from third parties. They concluded that “$4 billion in third-party liability overpayments remain at risk of not being recovered.”

HEAT ACTIVITIES

The Strike Force of the Health Care Fraud and Prevention and Enforcement Actions Team (HEAT) focused it attention on health care providers in nine cities: Miami, FL; Los Angeles, CA; Detroit, MI; Houston, TX; Brooklyn, NY; Baton Rouge, LA; Tampa, FL; Chicago, IL; and Dallas, TX. Strike Force efforts resulted in filing of charges against 148 individuals and entities, including charges against 91 in home health. Individuals charged with more than $230 million in home health care fraud included doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical professionals.

CMS RECOMMENDATIONS

The reports referenced several recommendations to CMS, with several that will directly impact home health in the future:

  • Establishment of additional contractor performance standards for high-risk providers in fraud-prone areas - including newly enrolled HHAs
  • Develop a system to track revocation recommendations and respond to them in a timely
  • Required refund of $69.1 million by New York to the Federal Government and issue guidance to CHHAs in New York City on Federal and State requirements for physicians' orders and plans of care
  • Work with States to address longstanding challenges related to identification of insurance coverage and recovery of payments, address States' challenges with 1-year timely filing limits for Medicare and TRICARE, and work to strengthen enforcement mechanisms designed to deal with uncooperative third parties

More information can be found in the 2013 NAHC Legislative Blueprint, pp. 175-176

 

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