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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

CMS Signals Intent to Rescind CR8098 on Vaccines for Hospice Patients

December 12, 2013 10:00 AM

As reported earlier this year – please see NAHC Report, October 22, 2013 and NAHC Report, May 15, 2013 - the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued Change Request 8098, under which edits to the Medicare systems would, effective October 1, 2013, deny claims for vaccines furnished to hospice patients that were provided by anyone other than the patient’s hospice provider.  This policy raised numerous questions within the stakeholder community, and prompted NAHC’s Hospice Association of America (HAA) to submit several questions to CMS about the policy.

HAA recently received word from CMS that based on review of the policy they have found “no support for it in other regulations and instructions,” and conveying CMS’ intent to rescind CR 8098 as soon as possible.  CMS is currently determining how soon they can reverse the edits within the systems that are currently disallowing claims for vaccines from providers other than hospices.

Once the edits required under CR8098 are disabled, it will remain the case that hospice providers who want to bill separately for vaccines will be requires to bill under Part B. CMS has, however, indicated a willingness to discuss this issue further.

Following is a question submitted by HAA to CMS, along with CMS’ responses:

NAHC/HAA:  Change Request 8098 has raised numerous questions among hospice providers and other stakeholders.  We are aware that CMS has provided some guidance on this issue, but we are seeking additional clarification on CMS policies to ensure that we provide the proper information to interested parties.

While we are aware that the Claims Processing Manual (Manual) has for some time included instructions indicating that hospices “can provide the influenza, pneumococcal, and hepatitis B vaccine to beneficiaries who request them including those who have elected the hospice benefit,” we are not familiar with any instructions that have prohibited reimbursement for these vaccines to the hospice patient’s attending physician or to another immunizer.  Would it be possible for CMS to provide that information to us? 

CMS:   The same section (Pub. 100-04, ch. 18, section 10.2.4) goes on to say “These services may be covered when furnished by the hospice.”  CR 8098 interpreted this passage to mean ‘may only be covered,’ limiting the decision on the appropriateness of the vaccination for the hospice patient to the hospice, to ensure appropriate care coordination.  CMS has re-visited this interpretation, finding no support for it in other regulations and instructions.

We plan to rescind CR 8098 as soon as possible.  We are determining the earliest date the Common Working File edits created by this CR can be disabled.   We will provide more details about this via provider education listservs.




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