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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

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

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.

Former President Bill Clinton

HIPAA Compliance Reminder

Covered entities must comply by September 23, 2013
September 20, 2013 08:51 AM

September 23, 2013 is the deadline to comply with new Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provisions published in a final rule earlier this year. The new rule extensively modifies the privacy, security, and enforcement provisions of the law. The rule strengthens and expands the privacy and security protection for individuals’ health information; modifies breach notification; and expands requirements to business associates of covered entities that receive protected health information, such as contractors and subcontractors.  The final rule went into effect March 26 but gave covered entities and business associates 180 days to comply with its new regulations.

The final rule stipulates that an individual must receive a notice of privacy practices that now includes a statement of allowed uses and of those disclosures that require an authorization. It must also include notification that other uses and disclosures not described in the notice will be made only with the individual’s written consent. Finally, it must allow for the individual to revoke any prior authorizations. Separate statements are required if the entity plans to engage in fundraising and certain health plan activities. Separate statements to notify of a breach will also be required. If patients are paying out of pocket for items and services they can instruct their provider not to share their health information with their health plan. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has published a model Privacy Notice that covered entities can customize for their organizations. Click here

The Final Rule did not change the regulation at §164.520(c)(2)(i) for when health care providers must deliver notices with material changes. Therefore, agencies will need to deliver the notice to all patients on service during the first visit that occurs after the effective date for the changes. Providers should also post the revised Privacy Notice on their web site.

Business associates are now directly liable for compliance with the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules and are subject to enforcement.Business associate contract requirements are expanded to require covered entities to take reasonable steps to cure any breach by a business associate. In addition, business associates must do the same with any subcontractor breach. Business associate contracts must also include permitted and required uses and disclosures.

Additional business associate contract requirements include: reporting of information to the Secretary, making available accounting of disclosures, destruction of all protected health information upon contract termination, and termination of business associate contracts in the case of violation of terms of the contract. The OCR has published a sample business associate agreement on their web site. Click here     

Business associates, and business associate subcontractors are permitted to operate under existing contracts for up to one year beyond the compliance date of the final rule unless the entity has renewed or modifies its contract in the interim. Covered entities and business associates will have until September 23, 2014 to renew or modify their existing contracts to meet new requirements.

The final rule also made some changes to the breach notification requirements that were effective in 2009.  Up until 2013, an impermissible use or disclosure was not considered a breach unless it posed a significant risk of financial, reputational or other harm to the individual.  The significant risk portion has been removed.  Now impermissible acquisition, access, use, or disclosure of unsecured protected health information is presumed to be a breach unless the entity can demonstrates that there is a low probability that the PHI has been compromised or an exception applies. The exceptions are:

  1. Any unintentional acquisition, access, or use of protected health information by a workforce member or person acting under the authority of a covered entity or a business associate, if such acquisition, access, or use was made in good faith and within the scope of authority and does not result in further use or disclosure in a manner not permitted under subpart E of this part.
  2. Any inadvertent disclosure by a person who is authorized to access protected health information at a covered entity or business associate to another person authorized to access protected health information at the same covered entity or business associate, or organized health care arrangement in which the covered entity participates, and the information received as a result of such disclosure is not further used or disclosed in a manner not permitted under subpart E of this part.
  3. A disclosure of protected health information where a covered entity or business associate has a good faith belief that an unauthorized person to whom the disclosure was made would not reasonably have been able to retain such information.


Agencies are encouraged to continually educate staff about the threat of theft, especially of laptops and papers in vehicles, and to verify that staff are taking all necessary precautions to keep these items safe.

Below are links to three NAHC Report articles published earlier this year that examine the final rule in greater detail can be found here, here, and here.





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