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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

CMS Releases Change Request 9201 – Instructions Pertaining to Hospice Payment Reform Effective January 1, 2016

August 21, 2015 08:31 AM

CMS releasedChange Request (CR) 9201 which corresponds to the payment changes that are part of Medicare’s FY 2016 Hospice Wage Index and Payment Rate Update and Hospice Quality Reporting Requirements (the final rule). For more information on the final rule see the August 3, 2015 edition of NAHC Report. The CR is dated August 14, 2015, but was not posted until August 20, 2015. The CR updates the Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Chapter 10 effective January 1, 2016.

The CR implements service intensity add-on (SIA) payments for hospice social worker and nursing visits provided during the last 7 days of life when provided during routine home care. In addition, this instruction will implement two routine home care rates, paying a higher rate in the first 60 days of a hospice election and a lower rate for days 61 and later.

For the SIA payments, CMS will obtain new codes to distinguish between RN services and LPN services since the existing codes do not make this distinction.CMS expects to obtain these new codes as soon as January 1, 2016.

Hospices and key stakeholders have been wondering what changes they will need to make on claims due to the new payment structure for the routine home care (RHC) level of care.CMS indicated in the final rule that it did not anticipate changes to hospice billing instructions.However, hospices will need to include the visit information necessary for the SIA payments on their claims. For eligible stays, the SIA payment will be calculated by the number of hours (in 15 minute increments) of service provided by an RN or social worker during last 7 days of life for a minimum of 15 minutes and up to 4 hours total per day. The claims processing system will determine the SIA payment eligibility of the 7 days preceding death.Hospices will not need to separate RHC line items by the RHC ‘high’ rate or ‘low’ rate. CMS systems will perform these calculations.

As CMS stated in the final rule, there will often be cases where the RHC rate changes during a period RHC that is shown on a single line item on a claim (for example, an RHC line shows 20 days of care and the high RHC rate ends after day 10). The line item should not be split in this case. Existing instructions require that level of care revenue code lines should only be repeated if the site of service changes. A claim submitted with consecutive RHC lines reporting the same site of service HCPCS code will be returned to the provider. Medicare systems will combine the high and low RHC rates for the applicable days in the total payment for the RHC line item. No changes to the electronic remittance advice are planned as a result of this rule.Instructions in CR 9201 are consistent with this direction from CMS.

Hospices have asked whether the sequential billing requirement for hospice will change and CMS indicated in the final rule that while the sequential billing requirement is not being eliminated at this time, CMS will consider whether the elimination of that requirement may be appropriate in the future.




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