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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

CMS Open Door Forum: Home Health F2F, Hospice Payment Reform, ICD-10 Testing and CAHPS Hospice Survey Updates

January 16, 2015 02:34 PM

Earlier this week, CMS held a Home Health, Hospice, and DME Open Door Forum. Hospice payment reform research, ICD-10 testing updates, and hospice CAHPS were on the agenda.  A summary of each area of focus is provided below.

Home Health Face-to-face (F2F)

CMS’ Randy Throndset opened the call with a reference to the home health F2F requirement, commenting that they are aware of the great deal of interest that the issue has generated, and that CMS is currently working on the issue and will have guidance for the home health community as soon as possible.

Hospice Payment Reform

A representative of Abt Associates, the contractor charged with gathering data pertaining to hospice payment reform, provided a brief overview of the payment reform principles, key topics from the 2013 and 2014 hospice study technical report (HSTR), payment reform outreach activities performed thus far, and a summary of payment reform concepts and key findings to consider.  No new information was released and no proposals were made.

The information shared is in a slide presentation that can be accessed here.

A call participant asked CMS if there was any other work to be done on hospice payment reform - or if a reform proposal would be coming soon.  CMS responded by saying that this is a continual body of work with a lot of input. CMS is working with that and doing significant analysis. However, there is no particular rule making period or timeline that has been identified for when a payment reform proposal would be made. 

ICD-10 Testing Updates

CMS reviewed the testing completed thus far as well as planned future testing.  No problems have been identified with CMS systems in the testing, and CMS’ claims processing systems have been ready for ICD-10 implementation since October 1, 2013, but continues to test with each quarterly update release. CMS has four quarterly updates to its claims processing system each year.  No problems are expected to arise during the remaining testing.  Any provider can sign up for the future testing dates March 2-6, 2015 and June 1-5, 2015. 

More information can be found on the CMS ICD-10 webpage here.

Hospice CAHPS

Unless a hospice had fewer than 50 eligible decedents between January 1 – December 31, 2014, it must participate in at least one month of the CAHPS hospice survey’s dry run.  The dry run takes place in the first quarter of 2015. Hospices must participate in at least one month of the dry run and may participate in all three months, if desired.  In order to participate hospices must select, contract with, and authorize a CMS-approved vendor.  Authorization requires the hospice to complete a form and submit it to CMS. In addition to selecting, contracting with and authorizing a vendor, a hospice must also request access to its data.  If a hospice believes it is exempt from the CAHPS hospice survey due to its size, it must complete an exemption for size form and submit it to CMS.  All the forms hospices must complete and much other information about hospice CAHPS is available on the website at

The next CMS Home Health, Hospice and DME Open Door Forum is scheduled for February 25, 2015.




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