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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

Home Care Medicaid Fraud Developments in Florida, Maryland, and Illinois

The National Council on Medicaid Home Care – a NAHC affiliate - reports on recent developments in home care Medicaid fraud and abuse, including: 1) alleged overbilling of unauthorized services in Florida; 2) convicted fraud of a caregiver in Maryland; and 3) convicted beneficiary fraud in Illinois.


As reported by Local 10 News in Florida, on October 9, a Florida state audit found that the home care organization of the vice mayor of Broward County, Barbara Sharief, billed for unauthorized Medicaid services.  The audit alleges that South Florida Pediatric Homecare (SFPH) overbilled the program $220,000, which the state is asking for back, as well as $44,000 in fines.  This audit is currently being litigated. 

Sharief had agreed to settle a previous audit for about $540,000, which included approximately $50,000 in fines. In this audit, the state alleged that SFPH overcharged for services lacking documentation, charging registered nursing rates when licensed practical nurses administered the services, and billed services unauthorized by physicians.  

To see the news article, click here.


As reported by the Office of the Maryland Attorney General, on October 8, Carol Dunstan pled guilty to felony Medicaid Fraud for billing for personal care services not rendered.  She received a suspended two-year prison sentence, and was placed on five years supervised probation.  She was also ordered to pay more than $10,000 in restitution, and more than $5,000 in civil penalties, and may no longer serve as a federally-funded health care provider.  She had previously been an authorized personal care provider in Maryland’s Medicaid Waiver for Older Adults Program, a home and community-based services waiver program.

Ms. Dunstan submitted timesheets for services not rendered from September 2011 through February 2012, when she was residing in Florida.  A Department of Aging employee detected the fraud when the employee saw a Florida postmark on the envelope in which Ms. Dunstan mailed the fraudulent timesheets.

To see the press release, click here


As reported by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois, on September 26, Sherri Gorree pled guilty to engaging in a scheme to commit health care fraud.  Sentencing will be held on January 31, 2014 in the United States District Court in East St. Louis, Illinois.  Ms. Gorree faces up to 10 years in prison, up to $250,000 in fines, and as much as 3 years of supervised release.

Gorree admitted to submitting false and fraudulent claims to Illinois’ Home Services Program (IHS) for the provision of personal assistant services.  She falsely billed for services for herself as a beneficiary, when the family member that was supposed to provide those services was residing out of state.

To see the press release, click here.  To see previous Council articles on Medicaid home care fraud in Illinois, and on Illinois’ Home Services program, click here and here


As Medicaid home care spending increases, anti-fraud efforts have focused more resources in a variety of “risk areas.” Recent prosecutions have highlighted serious program integrity weaknesses in both consumer-directed and agency model personal care assistance programs. These prosecutions include many cases of billing for services never rendered and include allegations of beneficiary complicity as well. Often family members are involved.

It can be anticipated that investigations and prosecutions will continue for some time to come as states share information and strategies. Home care companies doing business with Medicaid would be well served if they redouble their internal program integrity efforts. Home care companies should utilize service attendance and documentation systems that provide reliable ways to validate any self-submitted information. Further, agencies should engage in at least spot checks with recipients to ensure actual delivery of care and continued eligibility for services. In many circumstances, Medicaid will attempt to recover any fraudulent payments from the agency even if the agency is not implicated in the fraud. In addition, the fraud of an employee can create a risk that the employer is also charged with fraud.  Home care companies should anticipate future regulatory and legislative action to stem the growing instances of home care fraud, as is seemingly on the horizon in Illinois.

This is a typical reaction to health care fraud with regulators believe that all problems can be solved through another layer of rules. To the extent that there is a need for reforms, it is important to craft sound legislation that protects patients while putting the fewest restrictions on honest caregivers.

Home care companies should be aware that despite increased enforcement efforts, individual caregivers 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.

It appears that the concerns with billing for services never rendered are especially acute in consumer-directed care programs. While these types of home care delivery models provide an important level of control to the client, they also run a higher risk of fraud, particularly where the caregivers are from the client’s family. These risks may provide home care agencies with an opportunity to supply some program integrity oversight along with caregiver training and supervision. At the same time, agencies should guard against Medicaid programs promulgating new regulatory measures that affect agency-model and consumer directed care equally.

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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