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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

Is There A New Round of Face-to-Face Physician Encounter Audits?

NAHC’s face-to-face lawsuit still pending in Federal court
October 1, 2014 03:23 PM

New England-based home health agencies are reporting what appears to be a new round of audits of Medicare home health claims focused on compliance with the face-to-face physician encounter rule by the Medicare Administrative Contractor, NGS. These audits involve prepayment reviews and high-dollar claims appear to be the primary targets. HHAs report that claim denials include the sufficiency of the physician narrative and a rejection of added face-to-face supporting documentation that is composed after the claim submission. 

NAHC has not yet had comparable reports of renewed face-to-face encounter audits occurring outside New England.

This action follows CMS’s recent letter to Congressman James McGovern (D-MA) that rebuffed his requests that CMS suspend audits related to the physician narratives and restore payment on claims previously denied for insufficient physician narratives. The McGovern effort was part of a broad-based congressional request from a bi-partisan group 0f House members to the Administrator to remedy the past face-to-face encounter denials in the wake of the CMS proposal to abandon the physician narrative requirement.

The September 9, 2015 letter to Congressman McGovern from CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner states that while “CMS has not approved Recovery Audit Contractors to review documentation on the face-to-face encounter for home health,” the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and the Supplemental Medical Review Contractor can continue to review home health claims on all bases to determine compliance.

The Tavenner letter rejects any payments for previously denied claims stating, “ CMS cannot allow for full payment of claims that were previously denied for an “insufficient physician narrative, “ as CMS must make claim payment determinations based on the rules effective for the date of service in question, and the Home Health PPS rule has not yet been finalized.”

CMS had earlier rejected NAHC’s attempts to secure a settlement of its lawsuit challenging the face-to-face rule as it relates to previously denied claims and ongoing audits. The Tavenner letter is consistent with the litigation position taken by CMS – that it will not consider a retroactive rescission of the physician narrative requirement nor offer clarifications of that part of the face-to-face rule that could lead to payment of many of the previously denied claims.

NAHC continues to expect that CMS will finalize its proposal to eliminate the narrative requirement from the rule. The CMS proposal to require physicians to maintain sufficient documentation in their files to support the face-to-face certifications remains an industry-wide and physician community concern. Commenters on the proposal uniformly recommended that it be withdrawn.

The NAHC lawsuit on the face-to-face rule remains before the federal court in Washington in an effort to address the ongoing audits and past claim denials.

NAHC will be filing a brief in response to the CMS efforts to have the court reject a hearing of the case on October 10. The expected date for issuance of the rule change eliminating the narrative requirement is between October 31 and November 3. 

NAHC recommends that HHAs take all appropriate steps to secure “sufficient” physician narratives until the rule change takes effect and to pursue administrative appeals on any claim denial that the agency believes to be unwarranted.




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