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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 Releases Change Request Outlining Penalties for Hospice Agencies that Do Not Submit Required Quality Data

March 12, 2015 12:05 PM

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 6, 2015, released change request (CR) 9091, which addresses payment to hospice agencies that do not submit required quality data and outlines the penalties for failure to report.

For fiscal year 2014, and each subsequent year, if a hospice agency does not submit required quality data, their payment rates for the year will be reduced by 2% for that fiscal year. Application of the 2% reduction may result in an update that is less than 0.0 for a fiscal year and in payment rates for a fiscal year being less than such payment rates for the preceding fiscal year. In addition, reporting-based reductions to the market basket increase factor will not be cumulative; they will only apply for the fiscal year involved.

For calendar year 2014, CMS considers Hospice Item Set data submitted by the hospices to CMS for reporting periods beginning on or after July 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014, as meeting the reporting requirements. For calendar year 2015 and subsequent years, CMS considers Hospice Item Set data submitted by the hospices to CMS for reporting periods beginning on or after January 1 through December 31 as meeting the reporting requirements for that year. Hospices that receive notification of Medicare certification on or after November 1 of the preceding year involved are excluded from any payment penalty for quality reporting purposes for the following fiscal year.

CMS updated Section 40, Chapter 3, of the Medicare Quality Reporting Incentive Programs Manual with the details of this process. Each spring CMS will send the list of hospices not participating to the appropriate Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC). The MACs in turn will send a letter to each hospice notifying them about the 2% reduction to their payments and outlining the process the hospice needs to follow for reconsideration of the decision. CMS will then review all reconsideration requests received and provide a determination to the Medicare contractor typically within a period of 2 to 3 months. In its review of the hospice documentation, CMS will determine whether evidence to support a finding of compliance has been provided by the hospice. The determination will be made based solely on the documentation provided. No additional documentation will be requested. If clear evidence to support a finding of compliance is not present, the 2% reduction will be upheld. If clear evidence of compliance is present, the reduction will be reversed.

Both the reconsideration decision and the CMS notification to the MAC of the decision are to be completed prior to October 1 each year. Within 10 days after CMS notifies the MAC, the MAC will then notify the relevant hospice of the CMS decision of whether to grant or deny reconsideration. Hospices do have the right to further appeal the 2% reduction via the Provider Reimbursement Review Board (PRRB) appeals process.

For additional information, including a list of information that must be included in the request for reconsideration, see CR 9091; an accompanying Medlearn Matters Article (MM9091) has also been posted online. 




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