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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

CMS Proposes New Requirements for Discharge Planning

November 6, 2015 10:38 AM

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule to revise the discharge planning requirements that acute care hospitals (ACH), long-term care hospitals (LTCH), inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRF), critical access hospitals (CAH), and home health agencies (HHAs), must meet in order to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

The proposed rule was issued, for the most part, to implement the discharge planning requirements in the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act). The Act requires CMS to modify the conditions of participation (CoPs) and subsequent interpretive guidance to require providers to take into account quality, resource use, and other measures in the discharge planning process. Specifically, the discharge planning regulations must address the settings to which a patient may be discharged andemphasizes the importance of considering the patient’s goals and preferences as part of the discharge planning process.

On October 9, 2014, CMS issued a proposed rule that revises the home health CoPs which includes an update to the discharge/transfer summary requirements. CMS proposed to specify the content of a discharge/transfer summary, and specific timelines for sending the discharge/transfer summary to the follow-up care providers. The proposed changes are included in two separate sections located at §484.60(e) and §484.110(a)(6).

Since the IMPACT Act was passed after the issuance of the proposed rule for the home health CoPs, CMS is withdrawing the proposed discharge/transfer summary content requirements at §484.60(e) and proposing to add a new standard at §484.58 that describes the discharge process and the discharge/transfer summary requirements for HHAs. The proposed timelines that were published in the October 9, 2014 proposed rule at §484.110(e) for when the agency is to send a discharge/transfer summary remain unchanged.

CMS is proposing to require HHAs include in the discharge process regular re-evaluation and modification of the discharge plan as required based on the patient’s needs, goals, and treatment preferences. In addition, physician, patient and caregiver involvement must be part of the discharge process and plan. In accordance with the IMPACT Act, for patients discharged to a skilled nursing facility, the HHA, LTCH or IRF must assist patients and their caregivers in selecting a provider by using and sharing data on quality and resource use measures.The discharge evaluation and plan must be completed on a timely basis and be included in the patient’s clinical record.

CMS also proposes to require that a discharge/transfer summary be provided to the receiving facility or health care practitioner and it must contain specific information. The amount of information CMS proposed to be included in the discharge/transfer summary looks less like a summary and more like the entire medical record. In addition, many of the required elements are not typically part of the home health medical record and therefore no applicable. However, CMS proposes to require that agencies address even non applicable items by notating “N/A”.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice has serious concerns regarding the burden the propose rule will have on HHAs, specifically as it relates to the discharge/transfer summary requirements.

Comments are due January 4, 2016. We urge all HHAs to review the proposed rule and submit comments.




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