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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

OIG Releases Criminal Background Check Study on Home Health Agencies

May 27, 2015 07:27 AM

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued a report titled Home Health Agencies Conducted Background Checks Of Varying Types.  The evaluation is in response to a congressional request for the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to analyze the extent to which HHAs employed individuals with criminal convictions and whether these convictions should have disqualified them from HHA employment.  This report is a companion to the May 2014 report entitled State Requirements for Conducting Background Checks on Home Health Agency Employees, which identified State background-check requirements for HHAs and identified the types of criminal convictions that, under State law or regulation, disqualify individuals from HHA employment.

In general, there are two types of background checks that States may require HHAs to use: statewide and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  Statewide background checks are typically conducted by a State law enforcement agency and include information for crimes committed within that State.  For an FBI background check, a State law enforcement agency initiates the process by providing the FBI with an individual’s identifying information and a set of fingerprints.  The FBI checks them against the criminal background information maintained in its database and sends the results back to the State law enforcement agency.  The FBI’s database includes information both on Federal crimes and State-reported crimes from all States.

In addition, the Affordable Care Act established the Nationwide Program for National and State Background Checks on Direct Patient Access Employees of Long-Term Care Facilities and Providers (National Background Check Program).  This voluntary program awards grant funds to States to conduct background checks on prospective long-term-care employees.  Under the program, prospective “direct patient access” employees in any of 10 provider types (e.g., HHAs) must undergo fingerprint-based statewide and FBI background checks, as well as checks of State-based registries of abuse and neglect.  CMS began awarding grants to States in September 2010.  As of April 2015, CMS had awarded grants to 25 States, totaling more than $50 million.

For the study, the OIG selected a random sample of 105 HHAs from the national population of 12,626 Medicare-certified HHAs that were in operation on January 1, 2014.  Six of the sampled HHAs were ineligible, reducing the size of the usable sample 99 HHAs.  From the 99 sampled HHAs, responses to a survey about background check procedures and information on all employees as of January 1, 2014, were collected.  The 99 HHAs reported a total of 4,680 employees.

The report found that all HHAs conducted background checks of varying types on prospective employees; approximately half also conducted periodic checks after the date of hire.  All HHAs reported conducting either a statewide or Federal criminal background check, or both.  Eighty-three percent of HHAs conducted background checks on all prospective employees, and an additional 9 percent conducted background checks only on direct-care employees.  The remaining 8 percent conducted background checks on a specific group of individuals, such as unlicensed direct-care staff.

Fifty-eight percent of HHAs conducted periodic background checks after the date of hire.  Of the HHAs that conducted periodic background checks, 44 percent conducted annual checks, and a quarter of HHAs conducted checks more frequently than annually.  Eleven percent of the HHAs that conducted periodic checks had terminated at least one employee based on the results of a periodic check.

Seventy-two percent of HHAs did not allow employees to begin work prior to completion of the background check.  Of the 28 sampled HHAs that allowed employees to begin work pending the completion of the background check, nine stipulated that direct-care employees were not allowed to begin patient care until their background checks were complete.

Four percent of HHA employees had at least one conviction in FBI-maintained criminal history records.  Employees with at least one conviction in their criminal history records averaged two convictions per employee.  The number of criminal convictions per employee in the sample ranged from 1 to 13.

Based on the findings the OIG recommended that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) promote minimum standards in background check procedures.  CMS could promote minimum standards for HHA employee background checks by encouraging more States to participate in the National Background Check Program.  CMS concurred with the OIG’s recommendation.

To view the report click here.




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