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National Association for Home Care & Hospice
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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 Holds First Open Door Forum for the F2F Voluntary Templates

February 13, 2015 11:04 AM

On February 11, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) held the first in a series of Special Open Door Forum (ODF) calls on the voluntary electronic and paper face-to-face (F2F) encounter templates they developed. CMS released the templates to the public on January 30, and announced their intent to conduct an ODF to further discuss the templates with stakeholders.

During the call, CMS briefly reviewed the revised regulation for the F2F encounter that eliminated the narrative requirement for the encounter. Since the narrative is longer required, CMS will look at other documentation within the physician’s record to determine a beneficiary’s eligibility for Medicare home health, such as functional status to support homebound. 

The templates are an attempt by CMS to assist physicians in documenting patient conditions and characteristics on a progress note that support the eligibility for Medicare home health services. 

Both templates run five pages long and contain a combination of narrative and check box responses. The templates also contain skip patterns so that the entire progress note may not need to be completed   

The electronic template is a revision of a previous version that was part of project within CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator. That project was placed on hold in mid 2014, and resumed several weeks ago. However, CMS admitted that they had never attempted to develop a paper template before.

During the question and answer portion of the call CMS only entertained inquiries regarding the templates and did respond to questions on the F2F regulation. Many callers expressed concern with the length of the templates and the need to still provide a narrative that describes why the patient is need of skilled service and reason for homebound.

One viable solution to these concerns, which was suggested by several of the participants, was to create a template with pre-determined language and check boxes that describe the various reasons  skilled services are needed and homebound.

Although CMS was concerned that adding predetermined language would increase the length of the template, they were receptive to the idea, which is a reversal for them regarding the F2F encounter documentation. In the past, CMS maintained that a document with only checkboxes would not include enough content required to support eligibility.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) supports a document with predetermined language and checkboxes.  Any template put forth by CMS for the F2F encounter must be convenient for physicians to use. NAHC believes a template that contains predetermined language could be developed in less than five pages and will likely be better received by physicians, In addition, such a template can be designed to include enough content within the predetermined language to support a beneficiary’s eligibility for home health services.   

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, 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.

To view the F2F templates and the slide deck from the presentation, please click here.

Comments can be sent to

CMS will be hosting three additional ODFs on March 11, 2015, April 8, 2015, and May 6, 2015 all scheduled for 1:00PM ET.




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