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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

Heath 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

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

Recorded Hospice Item Set (HIS) Technical Training Modules Available

May 5, 2014 01:12 PM

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that Hospice Item Set (HIS) technical training will be available - beginning the week of May 5, 2014 - on the QIES Technical Support Office website:

This training is for Medicare-certified hospices required to submit Hospice Item Set (HIS) records beginning July 1, 2014, for the Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP).  

The Hospice technical training consists of a series of short, recorded WebEx modules that demonstrate the registration and submission process to hospice users. 

Information covered in these training modules includes:

  • Registration of two separate user IDs
  • Installation of the Juniper communication software
  • Submission of HIS record files to the QIES ASAP system and
  • Accessing the CASPER Reporting system to retrieve the Hospice Final Validation Reports

The Hospice Item Set (HIS) Submission User’s Guide and CASPER Reporting User’s Guide for Hospice Providers will also be available on the on the Hospice User Guides & Training page. 

These guides are essential and provide step-by-step instructions that coincide with the WebEx modules to guide users through the HIS record submission process. 

Below is essential information about accessing the Hospice (HIS) Technical WebEx training modules:

  • Access the QTSO e-University page by selecting the Online Training link on by accessing
  • Select the HOSPICE link located in the RECORDED TRAINING SESSIONS CATEGORIES box and the QTSO e-University login page will display.
  • Enter your first and last name and email address in the NAME and EMAIL fields.
  • Select the GO button and the RECORDED TRAINING SESSIONS page will display.
  • Select the Hospice Introduction to QIES ASAP and CASPER Reporting Systems link from the Recorded Training Sessions box to begin the first recording in the training module series.

Please view these short WebEx modules and then read/review the technical user’s guides that are provided.   This is critical to ensure successful registration for user IDs and subsequent submission of the HIS records for the HQRP. 

CMS encourages users to schedule time in early May to watch the technical modules as registration for user IDs begins May 19, 2014.   

Important notes:

  • You are strongly encouraged to view the recorded training modules in numerical order after the Introduction Module.
  • These recorded training modules will be available indefinitely as a reference tool.  There is no limit to the number of times that you or other staff members for your provider may view these recordings.
  • You are encouraged to print the training slides that are posted with each training module.
  • The file format for this recording is Windows Media Video (WMV).  Windows Media Player is recommended for viewing.
  • This training session contains audio and visual information. Ensure that the computer's speakers are turned on to hear the audio.
  • The recorded training sessions contain closed captioning.   Select the Closed Captioning Instructions link in the Recorded Training Sessions box to access instructions for enabling the closed captioning feature, if needed.
  • Please contact the QTSO Help Desk by phone at (877) 201-4721 or by email at help@qtso.comif you have questions regarding these training modules.

HIS Reminders:  Following are several recent updates that were previously published in NAHC communications but are supplied for the convenience of hospice providers; all items are available on the Hospice Item Set (HIS) Website; the first three items are available in the “Downloads” section:

  • A Change Table for V1.00.0 to V1.01 of the HIS Manualis now available on the HIS website; a revised manual will be available in the near future.
  • In mid-April CMS posted the final OMB-approved versions of the HIS-Admission and HIS-Discharge that must be submitted by Medicare-certified hospices each patient admission occurring on or after July 1, 2014. 
  • A Fact Sheet containing guidance for updating care process items in Section F: Preferences, Section J: Pain and Respiratory Status, and Section N: Medications of the HIS-Admissionrecord is now available. This Fact Sheet is intended to offer guidance on how to account for changes in patient status/preferences when completing the HIS-Admission.
  • The video recordings of theData Collection Training for the Hospice Item Set (HIS), originally presented on February 4th and 5th, are now available.



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