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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

Physicians Could Be Paid for Advance Care Planning Consultations in 2016

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released proposed changes to the Medicare physician fee schedule via the proposal: Revisions to Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for C Y 2016. The changes for calendar year 2016 could include payment to physicians for advance care planning sessions they have with patients, family member(s) and/or surrogate.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has a long-held position supporting advance care consultations as part of patient planning and decision-making relative to serious illness, and joined with other organizationsearlier this year in urging CMS to include coverage of such planning in its 2016 physician payment rule. NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris pledged the association’s support of CMS’ proposal, saying, “We share the widely held belief that Medicare beneficiaries with serious health conditions desire and need expanded opportunities for discussion of their conditions, the range of treatment options available, and their personal wishes relative to their care as these health conditions progress. CMS’ proposed coverage of advance care planning is a vital step toward improving quality of care and ensuring patient involvement and self-determination in the health care decision-making process. Its purpose is to allow patients—on a voluntary basis—to better understand the options available to them and to make care choices that best suit their interests and beliefs. We applaud CMS’ proposal to empower consumers in this way, and support this change as part of an overall effort to improve care for individuals with life-threatening conditions."

In CY2015 the CPT Editorial Panel of the American Medical Association created two new codes describing advance care planning (ACP) services but there was no separate payment for the services. In the final rule for the physician fee schedule (PFS) for 2015, CMS indicated that it would consider whether to pay for CPT codes 99497 and 99498 after it had the opportunity to go through notice and comment rulemaking. CMS received many public comments to the final rule recommending that these two CPT codes be recognized as active codes and make separate payment for ACP services.  For CY 2016, CMS is proposing to assign CPT codes 99497 and 99498 PFS status indicator “A,” which is defined as: “Active code. These codes are separately payable under the PFS.

CMS is accepting comments on the proposal until September 8, 2015. Descriptors for the codes are below:

99497 - Advance care planning including the explanation and discussion of advance directives such as standard forms (with completion of such forms, when performed), by the physician or other qualified health professional; first 30 minutes, face-to-face with the patient, family member(s) and/or surrogate);

99498 - Advance care planning including the explanation and discussion of advance directives such as standard forms (with completion of such forms, when performed), by the physician or other qualified health professional; each additional 30 minutes (List separately in addition to code for primary procedure).

As part of the proposed rule, CMS seeks comment on this proposal, as well as on whether payment is needed for advance care planning services and what type of incentives this proposal creates. In addition, CMS is seeking comment on whether payment for advance care planning is appropriate in other circumstances such as an optional element, at the beneficiary’s discretion, of the annual wellness visit (AWV).

 

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