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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 Enforces Hospice Respite Level of Care Requirements

February 11, 2014 08:30 AM

Late last week, CMS released Change Request (CR) 8569  - Enforcement of the 5 day Payment Limit for Respite Care Under the Hospice Medicare Benefit.  New edits are being implemented to prevent payment of respite care for more than 5 days at a time for any hospice claim submitted on or after July 1, 2014.  CMS will Return to Provider (RTP) any claim received after this date that has more than 5 units per episode of respite care.  This does not mean that hospices cannot provide and bill for this level of care more than once per month or benefit period.  It means the hospice cannot submit a claim for respite care that exceeds 5 days per occurrence.  The CR revises Section 30.3 of the Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Chapter 11 to reflect this requirement. 

CMS adds the following to this Section:

Respite care is payable only for periods of respite up to 5 consecutive days. Claims reporting respite periods greater than 5 consecutive days will be returned to the provider. Days of respite care beyond 5 days must be billed at the appropriate home care rate for payment consideration.

For example: If the patient enters a respite period on July 1 and is returned to routine home care on July 6, the units of respite reported on the line item would be 5 representing July 1 through July 5, July 6 is reported as a day of routine home care regardless of the time of day entering respite or returning to routine home care.

When there is more than one respite period in the billing period, the provider must include the M2 occurrence span code for all periods of respite. The individual respite periods reported shall not exceed 5 days, including consecutive respite periods.

For example: If the patient enters a respite period on July 1 and is returned to routine home care on July 6 and later returns to respite care from July 15 to July 18, and completes the month on routine home care, the provider must report two separate line items for the respite periods and two occurrence span code M2, as follows:

Revenue Line items:

  • Revenue code 0655 with line item date of service 07/01/XX (for respite period July 1 through July 5) and line item units reported as 5
  • Revenue code 0651 with line item date of service 07/06/XX (for routine home care July 6 through July 14) and line item units reported as 9
  • Revenue code 0655 with line item date of service 07/15/XX (for respite period July 15 through 17th) and line item units reported as 3
  • Revenue code 0651 with line item date of service 07/18/XX (for routine home care on date of discharge from respite through July 31 and line item units reported as 14.

Occurrence Span Codes:

  • M2 0701XX –0705XX
  • M2 0715XX –0717XX



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