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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

NAHC/HAA Submit Comments on Preauthorization of Hospice Patient Drugs under Part D

January 14, 2014 12:52 PM

As previously reported, in recent months the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has accelerated activity related to coverage of drugs under Part D for hospice patients.  The National Association for Home Care & Hospice’s (NAHC) Hospice Association of America (HAA) has been engaged in communication with CMS and other stakeholders on these issues.

Analgesics for Hospice Patients

CMS directed Part D plansto recoup payment for all analgesics provided to hospice patients, based on the presumption that any analgesic is for treatment of the terminal or related conditions.   In response,HAA corresponded with CMS, expressing objection to the assumption that all analgesics prescribed for hospice patients are for the terminal or a related condition. 

Preauthorization of Part D Drugs for Hospice Patients

In early December, CMS issued a memorandumdirecting Part D plans, effective March 1, 2014, to implement preauthorization processes for all drugs prescribed for patients on hospice.  Last week, HAA submitted lengthy comments to CMS on preauthorization of Part D drugs for hospice patients. 

Some key issues addressed as part of HAA’s comment are as follows:

  • Concerns about CMS’ interpretation of what is covered under the hospice benefit;
  • The need for CMS to confer with stakeholders on issues of determining relatedness;
  • Recognition that the hospice interdisciplinary group (IDG) is, as the clinical experts most familiar with the patient’s medical conditions,  the unit most capable of ultimately determining what medications are and are not related to the terminal and related conditions;
  • Continuing objection to across-the-board recoupment of analgesics;
  • The need for CMS to direct Part D plans to cease across-the-board denial practices or requirements for prior authorization until such time as a coherent policy protecting appropriate and timely access to medications is developed and put in place (and no sooner than Oct. 1, 2014);
  • If preauthorization is implemented, CMS should develop a single process to be utilized by Part D plans;
  • Preauthorization should not be put into place until an independent review process with qualified individuals leading the effort is established;
  • Hospice and Part D plans should both be permitted access to independent review; and
  • CMS should first target for review hospices that have a history of numerous patients for which drugs have been inappropriately covered under Part D.

The NAHC/HAA comments provide greater detail on the above (and other) issues and is available for review here.

NAHC/HAA Seek Preauthorization Information.  On a related matter, NAHC/HAA is seeking details related to incidence of Part D plans imposing across-the-board denial for coverage of drugs for hospice patients.  This may or may not come in connection with Part D plans early implementation of preauthorization for drugs for hospice patients.  Details regarding the names of the plans that are implementing such activity, whether or not the Part D plan has a clear preauthorization process in place, and information about the process, would be ideal, in addition to any information about delays preauthorization may be causing in patients getting needed medications. 

Please submit the details to either Theresa Forster ( or Katie Wehri (




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