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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

Heath 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

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

Physician Conviction for Accepting Home Health Care Referral Kickbacks Affirmed by Appeals Court

February 22, 2015 12:15 PM

Chicago based physician Dr. Kamal Patel was convicted in February 2014 for receiving kickbacks from a Medicare participating home health agency that paid him for each certification and recertification the physician signed. On February 10, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the conviction. The case is United States of America vs. Kamal Patel, No. 14-2607.

Usually, NAHC Report does not include articles about fraud convictions because the conduct involved in those convictions, such as billing for services never rendered, is so obviously illegal. This conviction is different in that while most veterans in home health care would see the conduct as a clear violation of the antikickback laws, here the physician somehow believed otherwise. The facts are very simple: Dr. Patel received $400 for every signed certification and $300 for every signed recertification. Dr. Patel claimed as his defense that he did not “refer” the patients to the home health agency as the patients made that choice.  The Court of Appeals disagreed, concluding that Patel violated the antikickback law by signing the 485 plan of care and certifications, an act the court determined was the equivalent of a referral. 

Nearly 20 years ago, NAHC worked with the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to compose a Special Fraud Alert as a form of warning to the home health community on the type of actions that would be considered fraudulent or violate the antikickback laws. Included in the laundry list of offenses was “[p]ayment of a fee to a physician for each plan of care certified by the physician on behalf of the home health agency.”  Despite this direct guidance, Dr. Patel and the Grand Home Health Care agency somehow felt that they could technically avoid the grasp of the federal antikickback laws by paying for certifications rather than the physician’s recommendation to use a certain provider.

The Court of Appeals rejected Patel’s theory that a patient referral is limited to the act of recommending or steering a patient to a particular provider. Patel presented evidence that his office merely gave prospective home health patients a series of brochures supplied by the nearly 20 home health agencies that served his patients. Patel argued that under the common definition of “referral,” the patients referred themselves to a particular home health agency when they chose the provider.

The court, however, concluded that the certification by Patel also was a referral as “[e]xercising this gatekeeping role is one way that doctors refer their patients to a specific provider.” The court recognized that in the absence of the certification the agency would not receive payment from Medicare. It stated that, “t]he referral process…continues until the Form [485] is signed.”

Several things are of note in this ruling. First, the court found a violation of the antikickback law even though there was no dispute that the home health care was necessary. Second, the conviction stood although the patients had selected the provider and Patel had many more home health patients with other agencies. Third, the level of kickbacks was small with only 1 or 2 patients “referred” each month. Finally, Patel was found guilty for accepting the payments alone. He never solicited the payments.

Generally, prosecutions have centered on big money cases, often involving large providers. Here, it was a small home health agency and only small dollars involved. Still, the parties were targeted, prosecuted, and now face jail time. Dr. Patel was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, 200 hours of community service, and was required to forfeit $31,900 in kickback payments. This case sends a strong message to the “small time offender” - every schemer is a risk.




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