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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

GAO Report: Medicare Contractors Should Coordinate More in Hunt for Improper Payments

September 25, 2014 10:52 AM

As reported recently in CQ HealthBeat, a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, Increased Oversight and Guidance Could Improve Effectiveness and Efficiency of Postpayment Claims Reviews, found that Medicare contractors hired to prevent Medicare from paying needlessly for services sometimes overlap in their efforts.  GAO found that there has not been enough guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to prevent overlap in the work of the four kinds of businesses used to check for improper payments.

The GAO recommends that CMS take actions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of contractors’ postpayment review efforts, which include providing additional oversight and guidance regarding data, duplicative reviews, and contractor correspondence. That step would spare doctors, hospitals and other providers of health services from duplicate reviews. 

Medicare, which pays for health services for more than 50 million elderly and disabled Americans, is one of the largest expenses of the federal government, with an expected outlay of $595 billion for the current budget year, GAO said. As much as $36 billion of Medicare spending may go to improper payments. To combat this kind of loss, CMS relies on four different kinds of contractor. Providers of health services have told lawmakers that they have concerns about the consistency and accuracy of this complex audit process. 

The four types of contractors are:

  • Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs), which process and pay claims;
  • Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPICs), which investigate potential fraud cases;
  • Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs), which examine payments not previously reviewed by other contractors;
  • Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) contractors, which review claims to estimate annually what Medicare’s improper payment rate is.

Lawmakers are interested in the report findings. “The information in this report can now be used by Congress and CMS to help make improvements and ensure more consistent oversight of both the contractors and audit process,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement about GAO’s findings.

Among the lawmakers requesting information were Ron Wyden, (D-OR), the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; that panel’s ranking Republican, Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT); Fred Upton, (R-MI), the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee; and that panel’s ranking member, Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) and Charles Boustany, (R-LA), the chairman of the Ways and Means subcommittee on oversight and that panel’s ranking member, John Lewis (D-GA).




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