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Testimonials

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. 

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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.

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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

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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 element...it’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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Former President Bill Clinton

PEPPER Updates for Home Health and Hospice

May 2, 2015 09:22 AM

TMF Health Quality Institute, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) contractor for the Program for Evaluation Payment Patterns Electronic Reports (PEPPER) hosted a webinar on April 30, to present PEPPER updates and to announce the addition of PEPPER for home health agencies.   

PEPPER summarizes Medicare claims data statistics for one provider in targeted areas that may be at risk for improper Medicare payments.  The reports compare the provider’s Medicare claims data statistics with aggregate Medicare data for the nation, Medicare Administrative Contractor jurisdiction and state.  PEPPER is an educational tool that is intended to help providers assess their risk for improper Medicare payments.

TMF develops, distributes and maintains PEPPER for acute care hospitals, long term care hospitals (LTCH), critical access hospitals(CAHs), inpatient psychiatric facilities (IPFs), inpatient rehabilitation hospitals (IRFs), partial hospital programs (PHPs) hospices, and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).  Beginning in July 2105, PEPPER will be available for home health agencies.

The presenter reviewed changes to the PEPPER for LTCHs, IRFs and hospices that will be released with the April 2015 report distribution for those providers.

Hospice providers will see four new target areas:

Target Area: Target Area Definition:
Continuous Home Care Provided in an Assisted Living Facility N: count of beneficiary episodes discharged (by death or alive) by the hospice during the report period where at least eight hours of Continuous Home Care (revenue code = “0652”) were provided while the beneficiary resided in an Assisted Living Facility (HCPCS code = “Q5002”)
D: count of all beneficiary episodes ending in the report period that indicate the beneficiary resided in an assisted living facility.
Routine Home Care Provided in an Assisted Living Facility N: count of Routine Home Care days (revenue code = “0651”) provided on claims ending in the report period that indicate the beneficiary resided in an assisted living facility (HCPCS code = “Q5002”)
D: count of all Routine Home Care days (revenue code = “0651”) provided by the hospice on claims ending in the report period
Routine Home Care Provided in a Nursing Facility N: count of Routine Home Care days (revenue code = “0651”) provided on claims ending in the report period that indicate the beneficiary resided in a nursing facility (HCPCS code = “Q5003”)
D: count of all Routine Home Care days (revenue code = “0651”) provided by the hospice on claims ending in the report period
Routine Home Care Provided in a Skilled Nursing Facility N: count of Routine Home Care days (revenue code = “0651”) provided on claims ending in the report period that indicate the beneficiary resided in a skilled nursing facility (HCPCS code = “Q5004”)
D: count of all Routine Home Care days (revenue code = “0651”) provided by the hospice on claims ending in the report period


Home health PEPPER is still under development but is expected to be distributed around July 20, 2015.  The reports will be in same format as the PEPPER for other provider types and will be released annually with statistics reported on a calendar year basis.  

The home health PEPPER will include six target areas and two “top” reports:
Top diagnoses for episodes in most recent year
Top diagnoses for therapy episodes (early/late 0-13, early/late 14-19, 20+) in most recent year

Target Area Target Area Definition
Outlier Payments N: dollar amount of outlier payments received by the HHA during the report period
D:  dollar amount of total payments received by the HHA during the report period
Average Number of Episodes N: count of claims paid to the HHA during the report period
D: count of beneficiaries served by the HHA during the report period
Average Case Mix N: sum of case mix weight for all claims paid to the HHA during the report period, excluding LUPAs and PEPs
D: count of claims paid to the HHA during the report period, excluding LUPAs and PEPs
Episodes with 5 or 6 Visits N: count of claims with 5 or 6 visits paid to the HHA during the report period
D: count of claims paid to the HHA during the report period
Non-LUPA Payments N: count of claims paid to the HHA that did not have a LUPA payment during the report period
D: count of claims paid to the HHA during the report period
High Therapy Utilization Episodes N: count of claims with 20+ therapy visits paid to the HHA during the report period (first digit of HHRG equal to ‘5’)
D: count of claims paid to the HHA during the report period


The presenter provided a sample PEPPER and reviewed how the provider’s statistics are compared with aggregate statistics for the nation, Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) jurisdiction and the state.  If a provider’s statistics are at/above the national 80th or at/below the 20th percentile, the provider is identified as an “outlier” and may be at risk for improper Medicare payments.

Hospice and home health agencies obtain their PEPPER through the PEPPER resource portal.  User’s Guide and training materials for home health agencies will be available soon and posted to the PEPPER resource page

TMF requests that providers not contact their QIO or any other organization for assistance with PEPPER.  For questions and individual assistance, providers can go to the PEPPER help page and click on “Help/Contact Us,”

The PEPPER presentation was recorded and will be available on the PEPPER web site in approximately three weeks.

 

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