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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

OIG Report: Frequency of Medicare Hospice Recertification Unimproved

September 10, 2013 10:56 AM

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) sent a memorandum to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) dated August 29, 2013 expressing concern that state surveys of hospice compliance with the Medicare conditions of participation (CoPs) are not occurring as frequently as they should.  The memorandum cited a 2007 OIG report that found that there was an average of nine years between federal hospice surveys and that 46 percent of surveyed hospices received citations for health care deficiencies - with the most frequently cited deficiencies related to care planning and quality issues.

CMS policy dictates the frequency of hospice surveys.  Current policy is for hospices to be surveyed at least every seven years (sequestration moved this back from a previous standard of every six years).  In the 2007 report, based on 2005 data, the OIG recommended that CMS seek statutory or regulatory timeframes for the frequency of hospice recertification surveys and suggested a timeframe of three years.  This is also consistent with the timeframe adhered to by private accrediting organizations (AOs).  CMS did not adopt the recommendation at that time due to the fact that additional resources were necessary.  This 2013 memorandum finds that not much has changed in regards to hospice surveys since the 2007 report. 

The frequency of hospice recertification surveys has not improved since 2005, with 17 percent of State-surveyed hospices not having been recertified within the lastsix years.  In 2005, 14 percent of state-surveyed hospices had not been recertified within the previous six years.  The OIG found the length of time between surveys averaged 8.4 years and ranged as high as 22 years for hospices in the 2013 study.  It should be noted that the OIG’s study excluded complaint surveys and those hospices that have deemed status and were surveyed by one of the AOs.

Based on these results, the OIG reiterated its recommendation from 2007 that CMS set specific timeframes for the frequency of hospice recertification surveys by seeking legislation or promulgating regulations.  The memorandum further stated:

“These findings illustrate that CMS’s use of fluctuating annual targets does not ensure timely recertification surveys of all hospices and raises concerns about whether CMS and contracted State survey agencies can adequately oversee hospice compliance with Medicare CoPs and the quality-of-care requirements for hospices. Our research also indicates that hospices are often out of compliance; the 2007 report found that almost half of hospices were cited with deficiencies when surveyed. Further, more recent OIG reports identified quality-of-care concerns regarding hospice care provided in nursing homes.”

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and its affiliated Hospice Association of America have long supported an increase in the frequency of routine surveys so that each hospice is surveyed for compliance with the CoPs at least every three years.




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