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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

NAHC Meets with CMS to Discuss Face-to-Face Requirement

Meeting an attempt to stave off a NAHC-led lawsuit against CMS on the F2F topic
May 14, 2014 08:26 AM

NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris and Vice President for Law Bill Dombi met on May 8 with the new Deputy Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Sean Cavanaugh, and a number of other CMS officials to determine if the industry’s growing concerns with the Medicare face-to-face rule can be resolved without resorting to a lawsuit in federal court. Earlier this year, the NAHC Board of Directors approved the filing of a nationwide lawsuit challenging CMS’s implementation of the requirement in the Affordable Care Act that Medicare patients have a face-to-face physician encounter in order to qualify for the payment of care.

NAHC has held off on filing the lawsuit to date as CMS indicated that it wanted to talk about a possible resolution of the industry’s complaints.  At the meeting, the serious concerns with the documentation requirements were expressed in depth. NAHC is focusing these discussions and the lawsuit on the documentation requirements because it will require Congress and the President to amend the ACA law itself to eliminate the face-to-face requirements overall.   

The immediate or near-term goals set for the CMS by NAHC include the elimination of the physician narrative requirement in the face-to-face encounter documentation. Since such a change would require CMS to amend the regulation, the interim goal is to have CMS suspend claim reviews and denials based on the narratives. Other changes such as the development of a model form, clarifications on the identity of the qualifying physician for face-to-face encounter certification, and potential elimination of the requirement for patients transferred from the hospital to home health care remain on NAHC’s broader agenda.

Based on the discussions at the CMS meeting, NAHC is further holding on filing the lawsuit to give CMS the opportunity to fully evaluate the concerns and the changes sought by NAHC. “I believe that CMS recognizes the validity of our concerns and the reasonableness of the corrective action that we requested in order to hold off on litigation at this time,” stated Halamandaris. “However, if it appears that we are not making sufficient and expedited progress with CMS, the lawsuit is fully prepared for immediate filing in federal court in Washington, D.C.,” he added.

NAHC is hoping to take advantage of a window of opportunity to secure formal changes in the face-to-face encounter rule that comes with the publication of a proposed rule on 2015 payment rates that is due in late June or early July. Still, for NAHC to wait for that formal rule, it is crucial that enforcement activity on the documentation requirements be suspended in the interim as a showing of good faith by CMS. In the early implementation of the face-to-face rule, CMS suspended enforcement to provide time for all affected parties to institute compliance measures. A targeted suspension is therefore a well-used approach to addressing problems such as those occurring today.

A series of discussion/negotiation meetings is being prepared for the period between now and the issuance of a final rule. NAHC will evaluate progress at each meeting step to determine if litigation is necessary. “I want to thank the vast number of NAHC members who shared their concerns with the face-to-face documentation requirements and put us in a great position to present the strong evidence that changes are needed,” stated Halamandaris. “That effort has given us what we need to succeed in discussions with CMS or before a federal judge if necessary.”




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