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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

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 Resources Available for the New Hospice Item Set Requirements

June 20, 2014 10:24 AM

Beginning July 1, 2014, Medicare-certified hospices must directly submit a Hospice Item Set (HIS)-Admission and HIS-Discharge record for each patient admission that occurs on or after July 1.   Records must be submitted electronically.  In recent weeks, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released numerous materials to assist hospices in their preparations for the coming requirement. 

Failure to collect and report HIS records for July 1 through Dec. 31, 2014, will result in a 2 percent reduction in hospice payments for fiscal year (FY) FY2016. 

There are several new and updated HIS-related downloads and resources available for providers that should be reviewed in preparation for the July 1 HIS start date. Available resources and materials include:

Additional time was sought to allow for a more orderly transition resulting in more accurate data on the claim.  CMS responded with a letter dated March 28, 2014 indicating that the hospice industry has had a full eight months to prepare for the data reporting requirements and a delay is not necessary.

  • UPDATED Version of the HIS Manual (V1.01) and Relevant Change Table available on the “Hospice Item Set (HIS)” portion of the website. Providers should review V1.01 of the HIS Manual and the relevant change table to make sure they are aware of changes made from V1.00.0 to V1.01 of the HIS Manual.
  • NEW Fact Sheet about Guidelines for HIS Completion Timing is available on the “Hospice Item Set (HIS)” portion of the website. This Fact Sheet replaces previous CMS guidance about updating the HIS and provides important new information.
  • NEW Question and Answer (Q+A) Document is available on the “Hospice Item Set (HIS)” portion of the website. This document contains frequently asked HIS-related questions received on the HelpDesk January – March 2014 (the document is located in the DOWNLOADS section and labeled “April 2014 Q & A Document – FINAL”).
  • Registration for hospice User IDs – hospices will need 2 user IDs to submit HIS records to the QIES ASAP system. Information on where and how to register for these User IDs is available on the “HIS Technical Information” portion of the website.
  • Technical training modules covering HIS registration and submission processes including submission of files to QIES ASAP and using the HART software – Providers can find more information about these training modules on the “HIS Technical Information” portion of this website.

As a reminder, a recording of the HIS training, originally presented on Feb. 4 and 5, is now available at This training covers HIS data collection processes including item-specific instructions for each item in the HIS, along with tips and examples for HIS items. The HIS Training follows closely along with the HIS Manual (referenced above) and follows the HIS Training Slides. The Manual is an essential tool in understanding how to complete the HIS; it is recommended that you review the Manual prior to viewing the training.

HIS Concepts
HART Software/Putting Records into Electronic Format

The Hospice Abstraction Reporting Tool, or HART, is a free JAVA-based application provided by CMS and made available for hospice providers to enter and validate HIS records prior to submission to the QIES ASAP system. There are four WebEx training modules available on the HART website, as well as a demonstration copy of the HART tool that is available for download and allows users to become familiar with the tool prior to going “live” July 1.

HIS Record Submission IDs

In order to submit records and receive reports on submissions, hospices must register for two IDs and passwords -- a CMSNet User ID and a QIES User ID.  Some hospices report that it has taken a few days to complete the registration process, so REGISTER NOW if you have not already done so!

CMSNet User ID 

Each provider is allowed two CMSNet User IDs which allows access to CMS’ private network where the QIES systems reside.  The CMSNet User ID registration is an online, self-registration process.  The Hospice CMSNet Online Registration application link is posted on the CMSNet Information page on the QTSO website. 

Users must follow the registration instructions contained in the Hospice CMSNet Online Registration Instructions document available on the CMSNet Information page on the QTSO website.

Following successful completion of the online registration, the user will receive two emails from the email address:

  • Email #1 – contains the user’s CMSNet user ID
  • Email #2 – contains the password associated to the CMSNet user ID, links to access the Juniper software installation document, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) and contact information

Once you have received the second email containing the password associated to the CMSNet User ID, you may begin the process of installing the Juniper communications software.  Successful installation of the Juniper software allows you to log into the CMS Network.  Should you have questions while registering for the CMSNet User ID, contact the CMSNet Help Desk by:


Once successfully logged into the CMS Network, providers will access a HOSPICE link. The Hospice link will allow users to access the CMS QIES Systems for Providers – Hospice Welcome page where the HOSPICE USER REGISTRATION application link resides. The Hospice User Registration application is used by the hospice provider to register for the QIES User IDs. The QIES User ID allows users to access the Hospice Submissions System to submit HIS records to the QIES ASAP system and to the CASPER Reporting system to access the Hospice Final Validation Report and other valuable Hospice reports.

Each provider is allowed to register for two QIES User IDs. The QIES User ID registration is an online, self-registration process. The Provider User Registration User’s Guide that details the process of registering for a QIES User ID is available in the Hospice User Registration application.

Should you have questions while registering for the QIES User ID, contact the QTSO Help Desk by phone at(877) 201-4721 or by email at

SPECIAL NOTE:  You are encouraged to review the Hospice technical training modules 1 (CMSNet User ID Registration Process) through 3 (QIES User ID Registration Process) prior to registering for the CMSNet and QIES User IDs.  The recorded training modules are available on the QTSO website.

Final Versions of the HIS Records are available on the HIS web page in the “Downloads” section.  The data specifications, which detail the requirements for the submission of HIS records, are available on the HIS Technical web page. CMS estimates that completion of the HIS-Admission will take an average of 19 minutes, while completion of the HIS-Discharge is estimated to take 10 minutes.




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