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Testimonials

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. 

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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.

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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

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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 element...it’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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Former President Bill Clinton

Congress Issues Report to CMS Asking it to Justify its Face-to-Face Policy

Report accompanied the 2015 omnibus continuing resolution that funds the government through FY 2015
December 19, 2014 10:28 AM

Congress has sent a report to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) asking the agency to justify its face-to-face requirement. The House and Senate report, which accompanied the recently passed 2015 omnibus appropriations bill, says that CMS should “quantify and explain how the policy directing physicians to conduct face-to-face certifications for home health care has prevented fraud, increased access to health care, and impacted costs to the Medicare and Medicaid programs” as part of its fiscal 2016 budget request.

Additionally, the report Congress sent to CMS states that CMS should include ways to simplify the provider documentation for face-to-face encounters as part of its fiscal 2016 budget request.

With the new face-to-face documentation requirements scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015, Congress’ report is the latest in a series of requests that CMS reevaluate its face-to-face requirements. Last week, both NAHC and its affiliate Forum of State Associations sent separate letter to CMS asking for a phase-in approach to enforcement of the face-to-face requirement. To date, CMS has not issued any guidance or initiated any education on the new requirement that physicians have sufficient documentation in their own files to support the certification of homebound status and skilled care need.

As part of its analysis of the ongoing face-to-face issue, Inside Health Policy recently summed up the continuing frustration the home care and hospice community feel surrounding the face-to-face requirement:

“Industry has viewed the Affordable Care Act's face-to-face requirements as flawed and unclear. As part of the face-to-face documentation, a physician narrative was required to describe a patient's clinical conditions and why a beneficiary needs home health care. The National Association for Home Care and Hospice sued CMS over the face-to-face requirements and physician narrative earlier this year because of confusion around what the narrative required. Home health providers said they were seeing claims denied because of documentation problems over which they had no control.

In the home health final pay rule, CMS eliminated the physician narrative requirement from the face-to-face documentation following the lawsuit. The changes are set to go into effect in 2015.

HHS, in a recent report on the agency's finances, also said that the face-to-face denials were driving up Medicare's improper payment rates.

“HHS believes clarifying the face-to-face requirements will lead to a decrease in these errors and improve provider compliance with regulatory requirements, while continuing to strengthen the integrity of the Medicare program,” HHS' financial report says.

Bill Dombi, vice president for law at the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, noted the bi-partisan, bicameral support behind the report's comments on face-to-face issues, and said that support backs up the industry's concerns. Some lawmakers have also recently pushed CMS to consider a settlement for home health denials that have occurred because of face-to-face documentation issues.

In addition to the action taken by Congress, NAHC, the Forum of State Associations and other home care and hospice advocates, NAHC is asking its members to Contact CMS Administrator Tavenner and their lawmakers asking for a phase-in approach the new F2F regulations.

To learn more about this issue and to take action, please see NAHC Report, December 17, 2014.

To read more about the letter sent to CMS by the Forum of State Associations, please see NAHC Report, December 16, 2014.

To read more about the letter sent to CMS by NAHC, please see NAHC Report, December 12, 2014.

 

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