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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 and ONC Release Final Rule Pertaining to Health IT Certification Criteria

October 15, 2015 09:57 AM

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) last week released several final rules pertaining to health information technology, including final rules for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Incentive Programs, and for the 2015 Edition Health Information Technology (Health IT) Certification Criteria (2015 Edition). While stages 2 and 3 of the Meaningful Use EHR Incentive program have no impact on home health due to the fact that home health agencies are ineligible for the incentive program, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is reviewing the 2015 Edition of the Health IT Certification program as it contains modular EHR standards of interest to LTPAC providers, such as a transitions of care dataset.

The 2015 Edition of the Health IT Certification final rule updates the ONC Health IT Certification program to make it, according to ONC, “more open and accessible to other types of health IT and settings beyond those eligible for the EHR Incentive Programs, such as long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC), behavioral health, and pediatric settings.” The final rule attempts to support electronic health information across the continuum, through “improved access to technical standards that form an essential foundation for interoperability and help ensure that key data is consistently available to the right person, at the right place, and at the right time.”

The new rule contains several new and revised certification criteria “to support settings and use cases across the care continuum.” ONC encourages stakeholders to review all available criteria to determine which “best suit their needs.” Following are the new and revised criteria as announced and described by ONC:

  • Transitions of care – A new “transitions of care” (“ToC”) certification criterion will rigorously assess a product’s ability to create and receive interoperable Consolidated-Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA) documents and exchange health information.
  • Common Clinical Data Set summary record – The final rule adopted two certification criteria focused on the ability of a Health IT Module to create (criterion) and receive (criterion) a summary care record formatted according to certain C-CDA 2.1 document templates and the Common Clinical Data Set, without testing or certifying to transport standards.
  • “Common MU Data Set” definition/name change – The final rule changed the Common MU Data Set name to the “Common Clinical Data Set.” This aligns with making the ONC Health IT Certification Program more open and accessible to other types of health IT beyond EHR technology and for health IT that supports care and practice settings beyond those included in the EHR Incentive Programs. Equally important, the Common Clinical Data Set includes new and updated standards and code sets for certification to the 2015 Edition to support more structured exchange of, and access to, electronic health information.
  • Care plan – This final rule has adopted a new 2015 Edition “care plan” certification criterion that would require a Health IT Module to enable a user to record, change, access, create, and receive care plan information in accordance with the Care Plan document template in the HL7 Implementation Guide for CDA® Release 2: Consolidated CDA Templates for Clinical Notes.
  • Privacy and security – The 2015 Edition has adopted a new, streamlined approach to privacy and security certification requirements for Health IT Modules certified to the 2015 Edition.
  • Exchange of sensitive health information: Data Segmentation for Privacy (DS4P) – In consideration of stakeholder feedback and several of HHS’ overarching policy goals (enabling interoperability, supporting delivery system reform, reducing health disparities, and supporting privacy compliance), the 2015 Edition includes two new certification criteria that incorporate the DS4P standard:DS4P send – This criterion enables a user to create a summary record formatted in accordance with the DS4P standard that is document-level tagged as restricted and subject to restrictions on redisclosure; and DS4P receive – This criterion enables a user to receive a summary record that has been tagged with document-level tags using the DS4P standard. Additionally, a user will be allowed to sequester the document from other documents received and view the restricted document.

These standards are meant to align with the goals of the previously released Federal Health IT Strategic Plan (see previous NAHC Report article here). The Plan explains how the federal government intends to apply the effective use of information and technology to help the nation achieve high-quality care, lower costs, a healthy population, and engaged individuals.

NAHC is reviewing the rule to determine whether comments are warranted. Click here to see ONC’s fact sheet, and here to see ONC’s press release on the new rules. In addition, more federal resources are available here. Please feel free to email NAHC staff at with any comments you may have on the final rule.




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