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National Association for Home Care & Hospice
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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 Holds Home Health, Hospice, & DME Open Door Forum (ODF)

December 13, 2013 04:36 PM

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) held its last Home Health, Hospice, & DME Open Door Forum (ODF) for the year on December 11, 2013.  The following information and updates pertaining to home health were provided by CMS staff.

Jimmo v. Sebelius Settlement Agreement

CMS has issue revised portions of the relevant chapters of the program manual used by Medicare contractors and providers, in order to clarify that coverage of skilled nursing and skilled therapy services “…does not turn on the presence or absence of a beneficiary’s potential for improvement, but rather on the beneficiary’s need for skilled care.” Skilled care may be necessary to improve a patient’s current condition, to maintain the patient’s current condition, or to prevent or slow further deterioration of the patient’s condition. Click here to view Change Request 8458

Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS) Edits

CMS officials reminded participants that the edits to ensue the referring/ordering physician listed on the   Medicare home health claim is enrolled in Medicare will be activated on January 6, 2014. A revised Medicare Learning Network®MLN Matters® articlewas issued on November 6.

The edit will compare the first four letters and of the physician’s last name and the national provider identifier (NPI). Claims will be denied where the ordering/referring provider is missing, incomplete, or invalid, or that the ordering/referring provider is not eligible to order or refer.  Claims submitted identifying an ordering/referring provider where the required matching NPI is missing will continue to be rejected. The edit will be applied to home health claims with a “From” date on or after January 6, 2014. Also, claims that are denied because they failed the ordering/referring edit will not expose a Medicare beneficiary to liability. Therefore, an Advance Beneficiary Notice is not appropriate in this situation.

CMS has made available the “Ordering Referring Report” on the Medicare provider/supplier enrollment website for providers to confirm whether a physician is Medicare enrolled.  The file contains the NPIs and the names of physicians and non-physician practitioners who have current enrollment records in PECOS and are of a type/specialty that is eligible to order and refer. CMS confirmed for NAHC that the file will be updated two times a week, and not once a week as stated on the call.  

Click here to view the MLN Matters article.  

Home Health Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS)

Participants were reminded that the deadline for submitting HHCAHPS data for third quarter 2013 is January 16, 2014. Agencies should always confirm that their data has been submitted and received.   The deadline for filing an HHCAHPS Participation Exemption Request (PER) Form for the Calendar Year 2015 Annual Payment Update (APU) is 11:59 PM Eastern Time on January 16, 2014.

Medicare-certified HHAs that served 59 or fewer unduplicated patients who met survey eligibility criteria between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013 should request an exemption from participating in the HHCAHPS Survey for the CY 2015 APU by completing the online PER form here.

HHPPS Rate Update

CMS issued a final rule to update Medicare's Home Health Prospective Payment System (HH PPS) payment rates and wage index for calendar year (CY) 2014. As required by the Affordable Care Act, this rule implements rebasing adjustments, with a 4-year phase-in, to the national, standardized 60-day episode payment rates; the national per-visit rates; and the NRS conversion factor. Payments to home health agencies (HHAs) are estimated to decrease by approximately 1.05 percent in CY 2014, reflecting the combined effects of the 2.3 percent HH payment update percentage the rebasing adjustments to the national, standardized 60-day episode payment rate, the national per-visit payment rates, and the NRS conversion factor), and the effects of ICD-9-CM HH PPS Grouper refinements.

This final rule also discusses the transition to ICD-10-CM coding, establishes home health quality reporting requirements for CY 2014 payment and subsequent years, specifies that Medicaid responsibilities for home health surveys be explicitly recognized in the State Medicaid Plan, and revises the methodology for calculating state Medicaid programs’ fair share of Home Health Agency (HHA) survey costs. Cl​ick hereto view the final rule and additional relevant documents. Also,a draft list of Manifestation and Etiology codes is provided in the Downloads section.  The list is being provided for review and comments or questions regarding the list of manifestation and etiology codes will be accepted through December 30, 2013 via e-mail to    

Billing Update

CMS officials reminded participants of the requirement to include service location Q codes on claims. Effective for HH episodes beginning on or after July 1, 2013, HHAs are to use the HCPCS codes Q5001 (Hospice or home health care provided in patient’s home/residence), Q5002 (Hospice or home health care provided in assisted living facility) or Q5009 (Hospice or home health care provided in place not otherwise specified (NO)) on home health claims to report where home health services were provided. The Medicare contractors have reported a higher number of claims that are being returned to the providers for error code 31790 which indicates a Q code is not listed on the claim.





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