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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

Additional Organizations Sign Onto Part D Prior Authorization Letter

June 24, 2014 10:47 AM

On June 11, a letter with 27 organizational sign-ons, including AARP, NAHC, and NHPCO, went to CMS’ Administrator Marilyn Tavenner urging that she halt the existing Part D prior authorization processes until a better solution can be found. Since the original letter was sent, 18 additional organizations – including the American Medical Association – have offered their support and signed onto the letter.

Earlier this week, the original June 11 letter was again sent to Ms. Tavenner with the additional signatories. The letter urges that CMS put a, “halt to [CMS’ March 10 Guidance -- Part D Payment for Drugs for Beneficiaries Enrolled in Hospice—Final 2014 Guidance] until a workable alternative is developed that does not place the burden of resolving payment disputes squarely on the shoulders of terminally ill Medicare beneficiaries.” 

The letter to Administrator Tavenner is the latest effort in recent months by NAHC and others to bring attention to the many problems arising out of CMS’ requirement that Part D plans implement a beneficiary-level prior authorization requirement on drugs prescribed for hospice-enrolled beneficiaries.

According to the letter, all the organizations:

“Appreciate that CMS seeks to ensure that the appropriate entity pays for medications, we believe this policy places an undue burden on hospice patients. Most importantly, we are concerned that the Guidance places the beneficiary at the center of potential disagreements between hospice providers and Part D plans—essentially requiring dying patients to navigate payer disputes. As such, we urge CMS to replace the Guidance with a more suitable solution. In particular, we strongly urge CMS to suspend the current policy directing Part D plans to place prior authorization requirements on all prescriptions for hospice beneficiaries. We request that CMS bring together all relevant stakeholders, including beneficiary advocates, hospice providers, Part D plans and pharmacists, to collectively work through these issues.

When a beneficiary elects hospice care under Medicare, the hospice is required to pay for drugs associated with the terminal illness or related conditions. Part D processes the medications for conditions unrelated to the terminal illness. As evidenced by a recent analysis from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), medications that should be covered by the Medicare hospice benefit have sometimes been paid for by Part D plans. In an attempt to prevent this outcome, the Guidance requires all prescribed medications for hospice patients that are billed to Medicare Part D to be rejected for payment, by being subject to a prior authorization requirement.”

The letter concludes:

“Given the concerns outlined above, we believe the Guidance is premature, subject to differing interpretation, and already creating barriers for dying patients who are trying to access necessary medications. According to initial reports, some hospice patients are already paying out-of-pocket for their drugs, going without needed medication, or revoking their hospice benefit altogether in order to access their medicine through Part D.

In sum, we urge CMS to halt this Guidance until a workable alternative is developed that does not place the burden of resolving payment disputes squarely on the shoulders of terminally ill Medicare beneficiaries.”

To read the full letter – and see the full list of signatories, which now includes the AMA as well as NAHC, please click here.




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