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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 Lawsuit Against CMS Over Face-To-Face Announced at the March on Washington

March 28, 2014 10:01 AM

It was announced at NAHC’s March on Washington, which concluded earlier this week, that the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) is planning to file a lawsuit against CMS regarding the face-to-face requirement that was part of the Affordable Care Act.

Below is the text of a recent Inside Health Policy articlein its entirety that addresses NAHC’s planned lawsuit, reprinted with the publisher’s permission:

NAHC Plans To Sue CMS Over ACA's Home Health Face-To-Face Requirements 

The National Association for Homecare and Hospice is laying the groundwork to sue CMS next month over its implementation of the Affordable Care Act's home health face-to-face documentation requirement, as providers' frustration has mounted with face-to-face denials and requirements to meet unknown standards in order to be paid for care provided in good faith, Inside Health Policy has learned.

Bill Dombi, vice president for law at the NAHC, told members at NAHC's "March on Washington" meeting that the lawsuit will be crafted as a cry for help. Dombi said that providers have tried unsuccessfully to talk with CMS multiple times, and maybe the parties need a mediator. Dombi said the hope is CMS will not take the lawsuit as a "shot across the bow" but a flag of surrender from providers looking for better guidance and clarity.

The face-to-face requirement is a condition for payment mandated by the ACA. The law says the certifying physician, prior to certifying a patient's eligibility for the home health benefit, needs to document that he or she had a face-to-face encounter with the patient. The visit must take place 90 days before the start of home care or within 30 days of home care beginning.

Frustration has bubbled up over a required brief narrative describing patients' clinical conditions and how the condition supports homebound services. Home health providers say they can't get that information from doctors in the narrative form, as doctors don't think or write that way. It's an unrealistic expectation, and home health providers say they are seeing claims denied due to documentation problems over which they have little control. Providers say there is also confusion and a lack of clarity over what the face-to-face narrative requires.

Some Medicare Administrative Contractors had about an 80 percent denial rate last quarter for face-to-face, NAHC officials told members, though there are differences among the contractors and the MAC reviews are subjective and inconsistent.

"No matter what we do, we can't get it right," NAHC Vice President for Regulatory Affairs Mary Carr said, and providers feel they are not getting anywhere with CMS.

Dombi laid out three basic arguments for the lawsuit.

First, providers believe that the requirement for the narrative is outside the authority granted to CMS by the ACA. But NAHC officials note that while the odds are pretty good that the court could say CMS doesn't have authority under the ACA to require the narrative, the court could determine that CMS has such authority from a program integrity standpoint.

A second argument may center on due process, as under Medicare processes CMS needs to publish clear, concise guidelines for what it takes to comply with rules and regulations.

Lastly, home health providers say that if a doctor provides the necessary information, claims shouldn't be denied for lack of documentation if it is present in the rest of the medical record.

Dombi said the NAHC plans to talk with beneficiary advocates, disability groups and others about potentially joining the suit.

NAHC is quite willing to have further discussions with CMS, Dombi said, and also suggested that providers urge lawmakers to consider holding a hearing on the issue. But he conceded that providers may lose an opportunity for a hearing after filing the lawsuit.




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