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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 Issues Face-to-Face Documentation Template

January 30, 2015 02:08 PM

As home health agencies continue to struggle to understand and apply the new documentation requirements under the physician face-to-face encounter rule, CMS has unveiled a form for voluntary use that may help. The form is based on an Electronic Health Record (EHR) project within CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator. It is a slimmed-down revision of the earlier EHR version and covers only the F2F elements rather than a full scale clinical assessment of the patient.

The template is available in two versions: electronic and paper. These draft templates can be accessed by following the links below.



CMS will be holding Open Door discussions of these draft templates. However, they can be used now by home health agencies. CMS intends the templates to be for purely voluntary use and will not mandate that physicians or HHAs use them. CMS intends the completed form to be part of the physician’s record, thereby fulfilling the requirements of the new rule that took effect on January 1.

On first glance, you will see a 5 page form. You will also note that CMS indicates that the form must be completed by someone other than the HHA, but not necessarily the physician. The prospect of a physician completing a 5 page form is daunting, but it uses a combination of check boxes and directed questions that should speed things up for the physician.

Given the voluntary nature of the form, HHAs and physicians will still be able to achieve documentation compliance by other means such as using existing documents such as the hospital discharge summary and the HHA OASIS assessment provided the certifying physician has signed off on them and includes them in the patient’s record. Still, those compliance standards remain foggy for the home health community despite the CMS teleconference in December.

In early December, NAHC requested that CMS phase in the new documentation requirements in a multi-step process that includes a hold on F2F documentation related claim denials until adequate guidance is issued, comprehensive training is completed, and physicians are given the opportunity to demonstrate that the documentation standards are understood. At this point, CMS has not determined if it will adopt that request. Instead, it appears that CMS wants to move forward, using the voluntary form as the means to compliance.

NAHC remains committed to working with CMS on establishing a temporary hold on claim denial. HHAs should do everything possible to comply with the documentation requirements in the meantime. In addition, HHAs should convey their F2F concerns and any difficulties to CMS immediately, as CMS continues to consider our phase-in request.

Also, in discussions with CMS this week, it was indicated that CMS intends to have its contractors re-prioritize their audit resources. In doing so, the audits will shift away from pre-2015 F2F issues, e.g. the notorious narrative,  and refocus on compliance  with the new standards.  This does not mean that CMS will stop auditing pre-2015 claims altogether. Instead, any such audits will be focused on non-F2F issues or limited, targeted F2F audits.  The details and specifics on this change are not available.

NAHC continues to prosecute its F2F lawsuit with the design of fully stopping audits on compliance with the narrative requirement and remedying past claim denials based on insufficient narratives. In the interim, HHAs should fully consider administrative appeals of any pre-2015 F2F-related claim denials.




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