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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

Home Care Medicaid Fraud Developments in Kentucky, Virginia, and Ohio

June 28, 2013 02:50 PM

The National Council on Medicaid Home Care (the Council) reports on recent developments in Medicaid fraud, including: 1) alleged fraud of caregivers for the disabled in Kentucky; 2) convicted fraud of an owner of a personal care services company in Virginia; and 3) an Ohio governmental audit targeting home care. 

Kentucky

On June 17, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway indicted two individuals for allegedly defrauding Kentucky’s Medicaid program.  Kentucky charged William Qualls and Linda Smith with Devising or Engaging in a Scheme to Defraud the Kentucky Medicaid Program and Theft by Unlawful Taking Over $500 but under $10,000.  The Office of the Attorney General claims that both defendants submitted false timesheets to Medicaid when working as caregivers for the disabled.  If convicted, each defendant faces up to $10,000 in fines and 10 years in prison.

To see the press release in Kentucky, click here.

Virginia

On June 13, Angie Gilchrist was sentenced to 33 months in prison, an additional three years of supervised release, and nearly $295,000 in restitution for defrauding Virginia’s Medicaid program.  She had pled guilty to health care fraud on February 19.

Gilchrist was the owner and operator of A-Z Alpha Omega In Home Personal Care Service, LLC (A-Z), which provided Medicaid respite care out of Suffolk, Virginia.  Between October 2008 and October 2012, Gilchrist filed around 385 claims for respite care not rendered by A-Z to 38 Medicaid recipients.  Gilchrist was reimbursed for $294,713 for these false claims.

To see the press release in Virginia, click here.

Ohio

On June 13, Ohio released findings from an audit of the Department of Job and Family Services (the Department).  While Medicaid is now administered by a separate state agency, it used to be administered by the Department.

The audit found that the state could save $20 million a year by investing in greater oversight to home care.  Such oversight strategies include service verification and telephone monitoring.  For example, the state would either require home care workers to call the state from the clients’ home phones, or use GPS-tracked cell phones.  These precautions would in turn limit instances of fraudulent billing (either billing for services not rendered, or double billing).  The audit also found that the state could save an additional $10 million a year if it demanded surety bonds from certain types of entities historically prone to committing fraud, like home care companies.   

To see the full story on the Ohio audit, click here and here.

To see earlier Medicaid Council Report articles on alleged and established home care Medicaid fraud in Missouri and Rhode Island, click here, and in Alaska and Louisiana, click here

Conclusion

States are increasingly seeing home care as “low hanging fruit” for payment recoveries - as the industry takes up a large percentage of the Medicaid budget while unfortunately containing an amount of fraud.  Home care companies should continue to monitor developments in Ohio, which may be omens of future regulations there and elsewhere intended to prevent such fraud. Home care companies should welcome this possibility, and advocate on a state and federal level to help craft sound legislation that protects patients while putting the fewest restrictions on honest caregivers.

Fraud committed by individual caregivers, which the Council has been seeing with increased frequency, exists in a consumer directed program.  Stakeholders should know that this might encourage state Medicaid programs to consider an agency model as a way of securing better oversight of individual caregivers.

Home care companies should be aware that despite increased enforcement efforts, home care companies and individual caregivers alike continue to face allegations of Medicaid fraud, primarily focused on billing for services not rendered.  These trends have contributed to a movement to require background checks for caregivers, and stakeholders should actively engage in that process through the forums or state advocacy. 

Also, to the extent that the alleged false billings relate to services where no documentation exists to support the billing, home care companies need to redouble efforts in that regard.  Home care companies are encouraged to keep abreast of program integrity initiatives in their states, and to contact the Council with any questions or concerns.

 

 

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