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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

NAHC Participates in CMS’ Most Recent Open Door Forum

August 8, 2013 03:58 PM

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) held a Home Health, Hospice, & DME Open Door Forum (ODF) on August 7, 2013.  The following information and updates pertaining to home health and hospice were provided by CMS staff.

FY 2014 Hospice Wage Index and Payment Rate Update

CMS announced that the final rule was posted by CMS on August 2 and printed in the federal register on August 7.  The final rule addresses:

  •  the update to the hospice payment rates that are effective October 1, 2013
  • additional information regarding coding clarifications
  • updates to the hospice quality reporting program
  • information about a hospice experience of care survey
  • hospice payment reform update

Details on each of these topics and a summary of the final rule was published in NAHC Report on August 6, 2013 in two parts and can be accessed here and here.


CMS reported that data for the entire 2012 calendar year is now displayed for both Home Health Compare and HHCAHPS.  Home health agency data for HHCAHPS is not displayed until an agency has data for a full year.  If a home health agency qualifies for the HHCAHPS exemption it must fill out the proper paperwork in order to receive the exemption.  This can be found on the HHCAHPS website here.

CMS reminded providers to verify that vendors are submitting HHCAHPS data as required.  Monthly data submission reports can be accessed on the website and going under the  Review Data Submission Reports section to verify that your vendor is submitting data as required.  If there is a problem, the home health agency must notify the vendor immediately so the vendor can fill out the proper reports for any missed months. Upgrade

A Mandatory upgrade to the CMSNet Juniper Client will occur for Eastern states on August 17, 2013 and for Western states on August 31, 2013. QIES users who connect to CMS Systems using CMSNet must follow the instructions in a new user’s guide document available here.

Status Update on Home Health Advance Beneficiary Notice

Home health agencies should continue using the HHABN with the date 10/31/12 in the lower left corner.There is not an updated notice available at this time.  CMS will continue to provide monthly updates on the status of replacing the HHABN with the regular ABN form and implementing a new Home Health Care of Care Notice (HHCCN). 

Home health agencies are encouraged to check the CMS HHABN webpage periodically for posting of these notices.  Once posted, agencies can begin using the notices immediately but will be required to implement them within 60 days after being posted.  NAHC will be checking the webpage routinely and providers can also check it here.


The OASIS C1 Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) package is now available here.

Comments are due to CMS by August 20, 2013.  NAHC is compiling comments.  Please send your input

Home Health Quality Measures

Two postings will be on the home health quality measures program site – revised home health measures (outcomes measures table, POE table, process measures table) and the home health agency quality measure technical document of OASIS based outcome measures. 

There has been some question about the calculation of the quality measures.  CMS reported that the measure calculations are correct but the documentation of the calculation of the measures is what is incorrect.  So that document will be corrected and uploaded to the CMS website.  The revised date for that documents will be July 2013. 

Providers can access this information here on CMS’ website.

Hospice Quality Reporting Update

CMS reported that training materials on the data collection requirements -which impacts a hospice’s FY2015 Annual Payment Update (APU) - will be available in the next few weeks.  There will also be an updated fact sheet, a user guide for data collection, and a PowerPoint slide show to help hospices understand the FY2015 reporting requirement

The Fact Sheet provides a general overview of the reporting cycle and what providers should be doing to prepare.  The User’s Guide and training slides will have more detail about the structural measure and the pain measure. There will be no live presentation. 

In addition, s document detailing the results of the NQF #209 Pain Measure will soon be available under the downloads and spotlight section of the hospice quality reporting webpage. 

Data from the HIS pilot test will also be available here.

Open Q&A

The CMS panel was asked when hospice providers would be notified of the hospice CAP rates for this year and CMS responded that this communication will occur through a Change Request (CR) as it has in the past.

A question of clarification was also asked regarding the use of Adult Failure to Thrive (AFTT) and Debility as the principal diagnosis on hospice claims.  Specifically, the caller asked if these diagnoses can be used up until October 1, 2014 or if CMS will be able to go back for three years prior to this date for enforcement.  CMS responded that the October 1, 2014 date is the date enforcement will begin and the CMS panel does not recall a three-year look back period mentioned in the clarifications found in the final rule. 

All the webpage addresses for topics discussed in the ODF are available on the ODF agenda page of CMS’ website here.

Additional Information

There are new instructions for expedited determinations in Original Medicare, released as CMS Transmittal 2711.  They will be included in the CMS claims processing manual, Chapter 30.  These instructions are optional now and mandatory beginning August 26th of this year. 

A link to the new instructions may be found here.




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