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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

Hospice Quality Updates

September 24, 2015 10:07 AM

There are some items of interest for hospices pertaining to the Hospice Items Set (HIS) and the Hospice CAHPS survey and survey process. The HIS completion and submission requirements became mandatory in 2014 and the CAHPS hospice survey became mandatory on April 1, 2015.  Hospices are required to have an approved vendor for the CAHPS hospice survey but not for the HIS.  However, a hospice may choose to work with a vendor in completion of the HIS-Admission and HIS-Discharge.  It is important to note that for both the HIS and the CAHPS hospice survey, regardless of whether the hospice is working with a vendor, it is the hospice’s responsibility to ensure its data is being submitted to CMS otherwise, the hospice faces a possible 2% reduction in its annual payment update. In order for a hospice to determine if its data is being submitted to and received by CMS, the hospice should do the following:

(1)  For HIS data, review all Final Validation reports to confirm successful submission and processing of HIS data.

Please note that when an HIS file is uploaded to the QIES ASAP system, providers should receive two confirmation messages: an “Upload Completed” message and a “Submission Received” message. These confirmation messages only indicate that the file has been submitted to QIES; they do not indicate that the file has been successfully processed and received by CMS. Once a file is submitted, it may take up to 24 hours for processing to complete. When processing is complete, providers should return to the Hospice File Submission system to verify the status of the file and then proceed with locating the system-generated Hospice Final Validation report in the CASPER Reporting application to verify that all records were successfully processed without error. To demonstrate compliance with HIS reporting requirements, providers should print and retain Final Validation reports as evidence of successful submission and processing of HIS records. Please note that hospice reports are automatically removed from the CASPER Reporting application after 60 days.  If 1) a Final Validation report is not received following the submission of HIS records or 2) a Final Validation report is received with fatal errors listed, the submission and processing was not successful. In these instances, the provider must correct any errors and resubmit relevant HIS records to the QIES ASAP system. For instructions detailing how to check the submission status of a file and access Final Validation reports, please refer to Appendix A of the CASPER Reporting Hospice Provider User’s Guide:  If you have any questions about verifying that a submission was successfully received and processed, please contact the QTSO Help Desk at  or at 1-877-201-4721 (Monday-Friday from 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM CT).

Compliance with HIS reporting requirements is determined based on HIS data that is successfully submitted to and processed by the QIES ASAP system. If a Final Validation report demonstrating successful submission and processing is not received, this indicates that the relevant HIS record was not received by CMS and thus the hospice may not be in compliance with HIS reporting requirements and may be subject to a 2 point reduction in their APU determination.

In addition to the instructions above, we wanted to make you aware that there are three new hospice reports available in the Hospice Provider Reports category in the CASPER reporting application, and there is an upcoming CAHPS hospice survey vendor training call.  Information about these two items is below.

HIS Provider Reports in CASPER:

  1. HIS Record Error Detail by Provider
    • This report displays by HIS ID the errors encountered on the Hospice Item Set (HIS) records submitted during the specified period.  HIS records that encountered no errors during processing will not display on the report.
    • This report is useful as it provides a list of all errors returned on the Hospice Final Validation report for a specified period into one report.
    • The report displays the following information:
      • Provider identification information
      • HIS ID
      • Error information including the error number, error description and type of error (Fatal or Warning)
      • HIS Item(s) associated to the error and the data submitted for the HIS item(s).
  1. HIS Record Errors by Field by Provider
    • This report summarizes by Error Number the errors encountered in submitted HIS records during the specified timeframe. 
    • This report is useful as it summarizes the number of times an error occurred during the timeframe and the percent of HIS records with the error.
    • The report can be requested to display Fatal or Warning errors, or both.
    • The report displays the following information:
      • Provider identification information
      • Message Type selected
      • Total HIS records submitted during the selected timeframe
      • Error Number and Error Description
      • HIS items associated to the error
      • Number of HIS records with the error
      • Percent of HIS records with the error
  1. HIS Records With Error Number XXXXX
    • This report lists for up to 5 specified Error Numbers the HIS records submitted with those errors during a specified timeframe.
    • This report is useful as it provides detailed information for specific errors of interest.
    • The report displays the following information:
      • Provider identification information
      • Error Number and Error Description
      • Submission Date of the HIS record
      • Patient’s Last Name and First Name
      • HIS ID
      • HIS Item(s) that encountered the error
      • Submitted Data in the HIS Item(s)

The link to access the CASPER Reporting application is available on the CMS QIES Systems for Providers Hospice Welcome page at (  The CASPER Reporting User’s Manual is available on the CMS QIES Systems for Providers Hospice Welcome page at (  The CASPER Reporting User’s Manual is also available on the QIES Technical Support Office (QTSO) website at

Note: The CASPER Reporting link and access to Final Validation Reports and the new Provider Reports are only active and available for registered users of the QIES ASAP system.

(2) Access the CAHPS Hospice Survey Data Warehouse to monitor data submission activities. 

Hospices require access to the CAHPS Hospice Survey Data Warehouse in order to monitor data submission activities. The hospice will be able to review data submission reports to ensure that their survey vendor has submitted data on time and without data problems. In order to be granted access, hospices should have completed and submitted the CAHPS Hospice Survey Data Warehouse Form.  This form was due July 1, 2015.  A hospice that did not complete the form should contact the CAHPS Hospice Survey Project Team: or 1-844-472-4621.

In addition to the above instruction regarding the CAHPS Hospice Survey Data Warehouse, we wanted to make you aware that there is a CAHPS Hospice Survey training call on September 30, 2015.  The call is intended for survey vendors that administer the CAHPS Hospice Survey. Registration for the CAHPS Hospice Survey Training session was available from August 31, 2015 to September 17, 2015, and is now closed. NAHC staff will participate in the call and provide a summary for providers.




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