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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

Face-to-Face Rule Advocacy: An Update

May 7, 2014 08:31 AM

Industry concerns with the Medicare home health face-to-face physician encounter requirements continue to mount as Medicare’s various contractors expand their respective post-payment reviews of claims. In late March, the NAHC Board of Directors approved the filing of a lawsuit challenging the requirement that physicians provide sufficient narratives on a patient’s homebound status and need for skilled care.

The lawsuit is ready to go. The intention is to file it in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C. with NAHC as the named plaintiff having “associational standing” to bring the case on behalf of its members. Three claims are included in the lawsuit:

1.) CMS does not have the authority to require the physician narratives as the authorizing statute passed by Congress only requires that a physician document that the encounter occurred;

2.) to the extent that CMS can require the narratives, the Constitution and Medicare law require CMS to promulgate standards for compliance that affected parties can understand and meet; and

3.) Medicare cannot deny a claim solely on the basis of the face-to-face encounter documentation, instead the whole record must be considered.

Since preparing the lawsuit, CMS has expressed willingness to considered resolution of the industry’s concerns without litigation.  A meeting with CMS Medicare leadership is scheduled for May 8. Following that meeting, NAHC will determine whether further discussions and negotiations are worthwhile or whether the lawsuit should be filed immediately.

In its May 8 discussions, NAHC will convey that CMS needs to suspend claims reviews on the sufficiency of the physician narratives until negotiations are completed or terminated. NAHC further expects to maintain a continuing evaluation on the progress and value of negotiations thereby providing the opportunity to file the lawsuit whenever progress has stalled or ended.

In addition to the litigation and negotiation advocacy, NAHC and its Forum of State Associations have actively engaged in congressional advocacy on the breadth of issues raised by the face-to-face encounter requirements. We have requested that the House Committee on Energy and Commerce hold a hearing on the value and impact of the face-to-face requirements. While the committee has shown interest in such a hearing, the limited congressional calendar means that any such action will occur no earlier than post-election.

Beyond the congressional hearing, NAHC and the Forum are working to change the face-to-face law through the ongoing appropriation measures pending before Congress. The House Appropriations Committee controls all the monies going to federal agencies to fund their operations.  Through the power of appropriations, it is sometimes possible to affect substantive government policy. It is a long shot, but one worthy of effort.

While this systemic reform action is underway, NAHC recommends that home health agencies continue to strive for compliance with the difficult face-to-face encounter documentation rules. Also, it is highly recommended that agencies preserve their rights to payment by filing administrative appeals on any questionable claim denials. Even though there is a significant backlog in the appeal system, the filing of an appeal remains the best way to protect your company from the impact of individual claim denials.




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