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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

CMS Open Door Forum May 6, 2015

May 12, 2015 08:36 AM

Hospice Summary

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) held a Home Health, Hospice and DME Open Door Forum (ODF) on May 6, 2015.  During this ODF CMS reminded hospices of the HQRP (hospice quality reporting program) requirements and CAHPS hospice information. 

CMS also summarized the FY 2016 hospice proposed rule (please see previous coverage in NAHC Report).

Hospices will note that there was a presentation by CMS on the prior authorization (PA) form for beneficiaries enrolled in Part D plans.  The form, developed by the NCPDP in conjunction with the hospice industry, was first introduced in 2014. There were two comment periods on the form and after some revision the form was approved and released for use in late March 2015.  While CMS does not mandate that the Part D plans utilize this form, CMS has strongly suggested that they do so, and may mandate use of the form in future rulemaking.  The approval of the form is good for three years.  This form includes a pre-authorization component but is, overall, an informational form.  If hospices run into difficulty with Part D plans not accepting the Part D form to streamline the PA process for hospice beneficiaries, please feel free to contact Theresa Forster ( or Katie Wehri (

The four primary uses of the form are:

  1. To prospectively provide “unrelated” drug information to the Part D plan, thereby avoiding an A3 Reject for those medications
  2. To provide information to override an A3 Reject (Coverage Determination)
  3. To alert Part D plans of a change in hospice status
  4. To report Plan of Care information

The Part D plans requested inclusion of a signature on the form, so this is included in the latest version.  CMS clarified that the A3 override must be signed by the prescriber, beneficiary or representative and that different physicians can complete the form (depending on which physician is most familiar with the drug).

The form and instructions are available here under the Coordination of Benefits section, and the power point slides of the presentation are available here.

Home Health Star Rating System
CMS reminded participants that beginning in July a Star Rating System will be added to the Home Health Compare (HHC) web site. The star rating system will coincide with July HHC refresh.
CMS is currently testing language that explains the star rating system with consumers.

Click here for more information on the home health Star Rating System

The HHC July refresh will also include two new claims based measures:  Re-hospitalization During the First the 30 Days and the Emergency Department Use Without Re-hospitalization During the First 30 days. These two measures have been endorsed by the National Quality Forum.

CMS officials reminded participants of the importance for home health agencies to ensure they are collecting the HHCAHPs data monthly and submitting the data according to the required submission dates. Agencies should be working closely with their HHCAHPS vendor and to notify the vendor and the HHCAHPS contractor if a problem with submitting the data is identified.

Click here for more information on the HHCAHPS 




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