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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

Annual Meeting Spotlight: Hospice and Health IT Education Sessions

In coming weeks, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is running a series of articles highlighting the exciting education sessions available under the various education tracks at the 2015 NAHC Annual Meeting & Exposition.
August 6, 2015 09:06 AM

Today, we highlight the Hospice education track as well as the Health IT education track at the 2015 NAHC Annual Meeting.

“The Hospice education track will provide agencies with the tools and strategies they need to improve care, build effective programs, and bring down costs,” said NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris, “while the Health IT education track will identify opportunities for agencies to maximize the benefits of health IT to improve outcomes and efficiency."

Following are the exciting courses available under the Hospice track at the 2015 NAHC Annual Meeting & Exposition:

How to be Ready for Your Hospice Survey

The IMPACT Act requires each Medicare-certified hospice to undergo a survey at least once every 36 months. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and state survey agencies have been gearing up to tackle the increase in surveys. Has your hospice been getting ready, too? The session will review CMS’ plans to implement the IMPACT Act and walk you through the hospice federal recertification survey process, including steps surveyors will take and the reports, forms, and documents hospices should have available at each of these steps. The session will also offer advice on how to handle concerns identified by surveyors and how to manage the survey process. For instance, what should a hospice be prepared to provide a surveyor during the entrance interview and how much time does the hospice have to supply the surveyor with information?

How to Implement an Acuity Rating System in Your Hospice Agency

This program will show how you can use information captured through your EHR to calculate acuity and better evaluate patient needs. This trending and benchmarking will allow the organization to build a sustainable business model, develop performance improvement plans, and be prepared for the population it serves.

How to Integrate Palliative Care Into Your Community-Based Home Health and Hospice Programs

This session will look at the development and implementation of palliative care in community-based home health and hospice programs. We will share our successes and lessons learned about clinical services, operations, and finances as they relate to developing business.

How to Manage a Hospice Effectively in a Time of Rapid Regulatory Change

In recent years hospice has been subject to an increasing number of regulatory requirements that create significant challenges for “line staff.” A hospice’s ability to effectively manage the growing number of clinical, financial, and operational requirements can have a dramatic impact on its daily work and its ongoing financial success. Effective management of a hospice requires understanding these requirements as they come up, analysis of their potential impact on the organization, identification and education of relevant staff, implementation of a coherent strategy to address change, and a means for timely feedback on how well the strategy is working. This session will explore ways in which various hospice managers respond to new regulatory requirements, secure “buy in” from affected staff, and monitor the effectiveness of their hospice’s strategies for ensuring compliance.

How to Bring a Medical Perspective to Hospice

In 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began returning to provider (RTP) any claims with manifestation codes as principal diagnoses and proposed new definitions for “terminal illness” and hospice “related condition.” CMS is also gathering additional data to formulate hospice payment reforms that require hospices to focus on a patient’s prognosis instead of diagnosis, clearly documenting “relatedness” and hospice eligibility. This session will explore ways hospices can develop and implement a deliberate, thoughtful process for determining a patient’s prognosis and what is related to it, as well as review required elements for documenting eligibility.

How to Deal with Current and Future Changes: Hospice Policy Roundup Part 1 and 2

The Medicare Hospice Benefit has entered an era of rapid change driven by regulatory and legislative initiatives. As part of this session, experts from NAHC’s affiliate, the Hospice Association of America, will provide insight into the latest regulatory issues hospice providers are addressing, as well as changes that are anticipated in the not-too-distant future. The session will also outline hospice issues currently under consideration by Congress, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), and oversight organizations which may yield future changes in Medicare hospice policy.

How to Create a “Dementia Capable” Hospice Team: Raising the Bar

People with advanced dementia commonly undergo aggressive and burdensome interventions that offer little to no clinical benefit. Hospices can bridge the gap between the type of care Americans with dementia want at life’s end and what they commonly receive. The traditional hospice model does not, however, meet the unique care needs of both dementia patients and their loved ones. In 2003, Hospice of the Valley responded to this pressing need by creating a dementia program that educates all members of the hospice interdisciplinary teams in best practices for advanced dementia and provides them with innovative discipline-specific materials. Since its inception, the dementia program has led to positive outcomes while serving thousand of persons with dementia and their loved ones. Customers and staff are more satisfied, and there have been fewer preventable hospitalizations, along with simpler medication regimens and a higher percentage of completed health care directives. This session will provide insights into the challenges of and methods for tailoring hospice care to effectively meet the special needs of individuals with advanced dementia and their families.

How to Ensure a Culture of Compliance in your Hospice

Regardless of requirements, it is becoming ever more important to have an effective compliance program, which is not a packet of a few policies that staff members learn each year. An effective compliance program encompasses the seven elements laid out by CMS and implements them in a culture of compliance. This session will explain the components of an effective compliance program, the importance of such a program, and tips for creating and maintaining a culture of compliance. It will also outline what to do when a compliance issue is discovered.

Following are the exciting courses available under the Health IT track:

How to Maximize Technology to Improve Quality and Reduce Cost

Technology is increasingly needed in health care as we all strive to avoid reimbursement penalties. Unfortunately, we’re struggling to find easy success with the new technologies, and less than half of us are satisfied. Luckily, we can learn from those who have had success, like Justine Garcia from Jordan Health Systems, which invested in technology that analyzes their EMR data. This program will review the 10 best practices for technology integration in home care and hospice through a real-life case example.

How to Make a Plan for IT Optimization and be Ready for the Future

This presentation will help agencies analyze their current practices with their operational software. We will provide specific recommendations and best practices to ensure your agency is receiving the maximum benefit from its investment. Learn why your agency may not be getting the most benefit from your software resource and what you can do to guarantee successful implementation and use of your agency software program.

How to Use Cloud Technology to Reduce Costs and Improve Compliance

Rebasing has forced agencies to evaluate how their back-office infrastructure and employee productivity affect the bottom line. Learn how Gaffey Home Nursing & Hospice strategically formulated and executed a plan to improve back-office processes, reduce costs, and improve compliance. Their core focus on people, processes, and technology led to reduced cost per episode, enabling the agency to increase profit margins, streamline job processes, and thereby focus more on patient care.

How to Implement and Manage the Change to Outsourced Coding

Agencies must learn to efficiently manage the changes driven by ICD-10. This program will highlight the challenges faced and answers found when making the change from in-house coding to an external solution.

How to Address Internal Barriers to Adopting Telehealth

This presentation will provide an overview of the evolution and expansion of Henry Ford's e-Home Care telehealth program. We will also discuss internal marketing of telehealth within Henry Ford's own health care system and home health agencies. Attendees will learn best practice strategies that address barriers to telehealth adoption and the migration process to a new telehealth platform.

How to Use Telehealth to Improve Outcomes: Banner Health’s Experience with Patients in its Pioneer ACO

This session describes a Banner Care program that focuses on patients who have the highest recurring costs and receive ongoing care from a co-located, cross-functional telehealth team. The clinical, operational, and financial dimensions of the program will be discussed.

How to Develop the Expertise to Put Your Agency-Specific Training Online

Have ever thought that your agency’s training and education was superior to an on-line vendor's? Have you also considered how much more efficient it would be to record the programs your agency provides and keep them for future use? This session will provide an overview of Moodle (open source software) to put your agency-specific training on-line. We will review specifications, considerations, and the expertise needed to make this happen.

How to Re-Charge Your Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring System

Aurora at Home shares techniques to develop or recharge your remote patient monitoring program. This session will cover episode management and patient engagement within our telehealth program.

About NAHC Annual Meeting Education Sessions

The 2015 NAHC Annual Meeting offers the greatest, most expansive, and largest number of education programs for home care and hospice. The education programs cover the latest information that home care and hospice providers need in order to prepare for changes and trends in the legal and regulatory environments. Individuals who attend the 2015 Annual Meeting will have the opportunity to earn up to 20 Continuing Education credits in-person, as well as additional credits through programs that will be available online. All of the course offerings will be available for credits to Nurses and Certified Public Accountants. Specific courses and credits will be available to Nursing Home Administrators, Assisted Living Administrators, and Social Workers.

For more information about the Hospice track, please click here.

For more information about the Health IT track, please click here.




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