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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

CMS Hosts a Home Health, Hospice and DME Open Door Forum

Several hospice issues were discussed in detail.
November 19, 2014 03:56 PM

During the CMS Home Health, Hospice, and DME Open Door Forum on November 12, 2014, several hospice items were included on the agenda. Those items are summarized below.

To review the home health issues covered in the most recent ODF, please see NAHC Report, November 18, 2014.

Hospice Quality Reporting Program

Hospices have completed the first reporting quarter of the Hospice Item Set (HIS). There are 476 hospice providers that have not submitted any data.  Hospices that have not submitted data may receive a 2% reduction to their annual payment update.  To begin submitting data hospices need to first sign up for the two required submission IDs.  More information can be found at

Updated HIS Q&A documents are now available for provider download on the HIS webpage here.

Providers should note that if any information in a Q&A is contradictory to what guidance is in manual or other instructions, the provider is to use the most current information source.  For example, the definition of “initiation of treatment” is different in the most current Q&A document than it was previously.  The most current information is the most accurate.

Presenters shared some of the error codes hospices have been receiving.  The most common error codes on HIS records are administrative, i.e. the CCN number is incorrect, duplicate records, the submitter ID does not match the CCN, etc.  Hospices should verify all their administrative information is correct and have an internal system to verify that the record being submitted has not already been submitted.

CAHPS Hospice Survey – CMS confirmed that there is no change in the planned implementation dates.  Hospices will need to choose a vendor and participate in a dry run for at least one of the first three months (Jan-March) of 2015 with mandatory monthly submission beginning April 2015.  CMS is expecting all aspects, including final OMB approval, to be finalized very soon.

There are two links on the CAHPS hospice survey website that providers are encouraged to review.  Specifically, hospices are urged to review the list of approved survey vendors and information related to authorization of the vendor by the hospice.  The hospice provider will need to choose a vendor, contract with the vendor, and then authorize the vendor to submit data on behalf of the hospice. 

Providers should go to the survey website,, to download the survey vendor authorization form and complete it.  All hospice providers will also need a user account for the CAHPS survey data warehouse to review data submitted by the vendor. 

Hospices should not take for granted that the vendor will be submitting data each month and should verify that this is occurring as it impacts the hospice’s annual payment update.  Providers should go to the survey website and look for the link to access the survey data warehouse and follow instructions there for requesting the user account.

Hospice Aggregate Cap Calculation

CMS indicated that the 2013 CAP year is the first year that will be affected by the 2 percent sequester.  CMS is instructing the MACs to consider both the net reimbursement and the amount of the sequester when calculating a hospice’s cap status - rather than calculating the cap from the net payments received - in order not to negate the intent of the sequester. 

Since some of the MACs have already issued cap liability notices for the 2013 cap year, some hospice providers may have an additional liability beyond what they are already aware of.  CMS has determined that in cases where a hospice has already received notice for the 2013 cap year that it does not have a liability but, when the MAC applies the new formula is over cap, a liability will not be assessed. 

Below are the various links to websites and telephone numbers for the hospice quality reporting program resources:

Contact information for QTSO Technical Help Desk:
(877) 201-4721 or by email at  

Link to “Hospice Item Set (HIS)” portion of website is available here.

Link to hospice portion of websites available here.  

Contact information for Hospice Quality Help Desk:

CAHPS Hospice Survey web site:; Technical assistance:; Toll free at 1-844-472-4621




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