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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

OIG Releases Work Plan for 2016

November 13, 2015 09:47 AM

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently released its 2016 Work Plan. In the introduction it states that the OIG has focused its efforts on identifying and offering recommendations to reduce improper payments, prevent and deter fraud, and foster economical payment policies. It goes on to state that hospices can expect greater oversight, including oversight of certification surveys and hospice-worker licensure requirements. Other key focus areas include skilled nursing facility (SNF) compliance with patient admission requirements and evaluation of CMS’ Fraud Prevention System as well as reviews planned to promote the effectiveness and efficiency of the Medicaid program.

There is one area of focus listed for hospices and one area of focus listed for home health agencies; however, home health agencies will be further impacted by the OIG’s plans related to Medicaid home and community based services and hospices may be impacted. A summary for hospice and home health agencies is below as well as a summary for Medicaid-specific activities.


General Inpatient Care – the topic is the same as last year’s Work Plan but the description of activity has been revised.

We will review the use of the general inpatient care level of the Medicare hospice benefit. We will assess the appropriateness of hospices’ general inpatient care claims and the content of election statements for hospice beneficiaries who receive general inpatient care. We will also review hospice medical records to address concerns that this level of hospice care is being billed when that level of service is not medically necessary. We will review beneficiaries’ plans of care and determine whether they meet key requirements.

Hospice care is palliative rather than curative. When a beneficiary elects hospice care, the hospice agency assumes the responsibility for medical care related to the beneficiary’s terminal illness and related conditions. Federal regulations address Medicare conditions of participation (CoP) for hospices. (42 CFR Part 418.) Beneficiaries may revoke their election of hospice care and return to standard Medicare coverage at any time. (42 CFR § 418.28.) In addition, we will also determine whether Medicare payments for hospice services were made in accordance with Medicare requirements.

To ensure compliance with the Medicare hospice election statement requirements, hospices should ensure their election statements contain the following elements, as indicated in the CMS Manual System, Pub 100-02, Medicare Benefit Policy Manual, Chapter 9, Section 20.2.

  • Identification of the provider: The name of the particular hospice that will provide care to the beneficiary must appear on the election statement
  • An understanding of the nature of hospice care: The beneficiary or representativemust acknowledge that he/she has been given a full understandingof the palliative rather than curative nature of hospice care
  • Waiver of certain Medicare benefits: The beneficiary or representative must acknowledge an understanding that the beneficiary has waived rights to other benefits when electing the hospice benefit for their illness
  • Effective date of election:The effective date of the election statement may be the first day of hospice care. Hospice care may start after the effective date, but not prior to the effective date.
  • Signature: A dated signature of the beneficiary or representative must appear on the document

There is no specific format for an election statement; however, all the required elements listed must be clearly evident for the election statement to be considered valid. If the acknowledgement of understanding of hospice care or the acknowledgement of waiving of the certain Medicare benefits is on a different page, send in both pages to medical review to support a valid election statement.

Commonly identified problems with election statements:

  • No statement indicating the beneficiary fully understands the palliative rather than curative statement of the hospice benefit present
  • No effective date present
  • No waiver of certain Medicare benefits present
  • The particular name of the individual hospice providing care is not identified. If the hospice belongs to a corporation or some other entity that has a different name, ensure the name of the particular hospice providing care is on the signed statement.

To ensure compliance with the general inpatient (GIP) level of care, hospices may find the Palmetto Hospice GIP Audit Tool helpful.

Home Health

Home health Prospective Payment System Requirements

We will review compliance with various aspects of the home health prospective payment system (PPS), including the documentation required in support of the claims paid by Medicare. We will determine whether home health claims were paid in accordance with Federal laws and regulations. A prior OIG report found that one in four home health agencies (HHAs) had questionable billing. Further, CMS designated newly enrolling HHAs as high-risk providers, citing their record of fraud, waste, and abuse. Since 2010, nearly $1 billion in improper Medicare payments and fraud has been identified relating to the home health benefit. Home health services include part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care, as well as other skilled care services, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy; medical social work; and home health aide services.


The Medicaid section of the Work Plan describes the range of FY 2016 reviews planned and those in progress to promote the effectiveness and efficiency of the growing Medicaid program. Focus areas include prescription drugs; billing, payment, reimbursement, quality, and safety of home health services, community-based care, and other services, equipment, and supplies; State management of Medicaid, information system controls and security; and Medicaid managed care. There is the potential for both home health and hospice agencies to be impacted in all of these areas even though home health is only mentionedand only for one topic.




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