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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

Beyond Rebasing: Other Elements in the HHPPS Final Rule

December 3, 2013 09:23 AM

In the final rule for the home health prospective payment system (HHPPS), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized changes it proposed to the home health Grouper by eliminating the 170 diagnosis codes claiming that reporting these diagnosis codes for home health is not compliant with ICD-9 coding guidelines. CMS’ maintains that these conditions are less acute or resolved prior to a home health admission (category 1), or the condition does not impact the home health plan of care or result in additional resource utilization (category 2). 

As stated in comments to the proposed rule, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice disagrees with CMS’ assumption and believes there are instances where it is appropriate to list several of these diagnosis in accord with ICD-9 coding guidelines are receive case mix points.

Additionally, NAHC argued that changes in case mix points related to the elimination of the diagnoses should be done in a budget neutral manner. CMS, in the final rule, did reduce the amount of the adjustment to the case mix weights to accommodate for the elimination of these codes from the HHPPS.

CMS also finalized two new claims based quality measures:

  1. Rehospitalization during the first 30 days of home health
  2. Emergency Department Use without Hospital Readmission during the first 30 days of home health

The new measures apply to only those patients that have been discharged from the hospital within 5 days prior to admission and measures rehospitalizations and emergency department use within the first 30 days of the SOC date.

Although the new claims-based measures have not been endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF), CMS has made some adjustment to the risk adjustment model and plans to submit the measures to the NQF for endorsement by December 6, 2013.

Agencies should expect to see the measures reported at the agency level sometime in 2014 and posted for public reporting on Home Health Compare in 2015. 

The measures are in addition to the current collected claims based measures for acute care hospitalization and emergency department use without hospitalization. These current measures apply to all Medicare home health patients admitted to the hospital or who use the emergency department in the first 60 days from admission to home health.

Furthermore, CMS has finalized the elimination of stratification by episode length for the process measures. Currently there are 97 quality measures included on the CASPER reports, of which 45 are process measures. This reduction will decrease the total number of home health quality measures to 79 and reduce the number of process measures from 45 to 27. This will remove 18 process measures from the current CASPER reports. Home Health Compare will report measures for all episodes rather than short episodes. CMS received no comments in opposition to this action.

Lastly, CMS finalized its proposal to ensure that state Medicaid programs include explicit provision to contribute to the cost of HHA surveys with the costs that are attributable to Medicare and Medicaid shared on a 50/50 basis between the two programs.

To view the final rule click here




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