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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

SNFs, Hospice and Home Health Programs Prominent in OIG Work Plan for 2015

November 27, 2014 07:51 AM

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently released its FY 2015 Work Plan. The work plan sets forth various projects to be addressed during the fiscal year by the Office of Audit Services, Office of Evaluation and Inspections, Office of Investigations, and Office of Counsel to the Inspector General within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The Work Plan includes projects planned in each of the Department’s major entities: the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; the public health agencies; the Administrations for Children & Families; and Administration on Aging. Information is also provided on projects related to issues that cut across departmental programs, including State and local government use of Federal funds, as well as the functional areas of the Office of the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS). Some of the projects described in the Work Plan are statutorily required, such as the audit of the Department’s financial statements, which is mandated by the Government Management Reform Act.

Below is a list of the SNF, hospice and home health programs that are contained in the 2015 Work Plan, per Long-term Living Magazine:

Nursing homes

  • Medicare Part A billing by skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The OIG expects to release a report describing changes in SNF billing practices from 2011 to 2013. Earlier work by the office found that SNFs increasingly billed for the highest level of therapy although beneficiary characteristics did not change much, the work plan notes, and also found that one-fourth of claims by SNFs in 2009 were billed in error, at a cost of $1.5 billion in inappropriate Medicare payments. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) since has changed how SNFs bill for services for Medicare Part A stays.
  • Questionable billing patterns for Part B services during nursing home stays. The OIG plans to identify questionable billing patterns associated with nursing homes and Medicare providers for Part B services provided to residents during stays not paid under Part A (for example, stays during which benefits are exhausted or the three-day prior-inpatient-stay requirement is not met). Through a series of studies, the OIG will examine several broad categories of services, among them foot care. Congress directed the OIG to monitor Part B billing for abuse during non-Part A stays to ensure that no excessive services are provided, the work plan notes.
  • State agency verification of deficiency corrections. The OIG expects to determine whether state survey agencies verified correction plans for deficiencies that were identified during nursing home recertification surveys. A previous OIG review found that one state survey agency had failed in this regard, not meeting federal requirements that specify that nursing homes must submit correction plans to the state survey agency or to CMS, the work plan notes. CMS requires state survey agencies to verify the correction of identified deficiencies through onsite reviews or other evidence.
  • Program for national background checks for long-term-care (LTC) employees. The OIG plans to review the procedures that participating states have implemented for LTC facilities or providers to conduct background checks on prospective employees and providers who would have direct access to residents and determine the costs of conducting such background checks. The OIG will examine whether the programs led to any unintended consequences.
  • Hospitalizations of nursing home residents for manageable and preventable conditions. The OIG expects to determine the extent to which Medicare beneficiaries living in nursing homes are hospitalized as a result of conditions thought to be manageable or preventable in the nursing home setting. A 2013 review by the OIG found that one-fourth of Medicare beneficiaries were hospitalized for any reason in fiscal year 2011. Hospitalizations of nursing home residents are costly to Medicare and may indicate quality-of-care problems in nursing homes, the work plan notes.

Hospice programs

  • Hospice programs in assisted living facilities (ALFs). The OIG plans to review the extent to which hospices serve Medicare beneficiaries who reside in assisted living facilities (ALFs) in regards to length of stay, levels of care received and common terminal illnesses of beneficiaries. This review is expected to help CMS meet a requirement under the Affordable Care Act to reform the hospice payment system, collect data relevant to revising hospice payments and develop quality measures for hospices. ALF residents have the longest lengths of stay in hospice care, according to the work plan, and MedPAC has said that these long stays should be further monitored and examined.
  • Hospice general inpatient care. The OIG expects to review and assess the appropriateness of hospices’ general inpatient care claims and the content of election statements for hospice beneficiaries who receive general inpatient care. Also, the office will review hospice medical records to address concerns that this level of hospice care is being misused.

Home health services

  • Home health prospective payment system (PPS) requirements. The OIG plans to review compliance with various aspects of the home health PPS, including the documentation required to support claims paid by Medicare, to determine whether home health claims were paid according to federal laws and regulations. Previously, the OIG found that one-fourth of home health agencies had questionable billing. Since 2010, nearly $1 billion in improper Medicare payments and fraud has been identified relating to the home health benefit, the OIG work plan notes.
  • Employment of workers with criminal convictions. The OIG expects to determine the extent to which home health agencies employed people who have been convicted of crimes and also will examine the criminal convictions of selected employees with potentially disqualifying convictions. Most states have laws prohibiting certain healthcare-related entities from employing people who have certain types of criminal convictions, the work plan notes.

OIG does not provide additional details on jobs to be undertaken or information on the status of jobs contained in its Work Plan. For example, although estimated issue dates are provided in the Work Plan, HHS does not provide revised estimates or current status.

To review the full 2015 Work Plan, please click here.




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