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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 Simplifies Hospice Vaccine Billing Effective October 2016

Change Sought by NAHC, Forum of State Associations
May 1, 2016 11:40 AM

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just issued Change Request 9052/Transmittal 3503 which, effective October 1, 2016, allows hospices to bill Medicare for covered preventive vaccines (influenza virus, pneumococcal, and hepatitis B) directly on the institutional claim rather than requiring that they secure and maintain separate enrollment and bill vaccines as a Medicare Part B Supplier in order to receive payment.  CMS references this change as providing “administrative simplification for both hospices and Medicare. If the services are billable on institutional claims, hospices will not need to maintain separate billing systems to create professional claim formats for vaccine services or to submit paper CMS-1500 claim forms for these services. The Medicare program will reduce the number of enrollments it must process and maintain. It will also reduce claims processing workloads for paper claim submissions.”

This change, along with clarifications on CMS policy related to coverage of preventive vaccines for hospice patients, was sought by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and its affiliated Forum of State Associations (FSA) during 2013 (see previous NAHC Report coverage here and here). While CMS alerted NAHC some time ago that it planned to make these changes, implementation was delayed due to the significant number of other systems changes that were scheduled for implementation.

With issuance of the change, CMS institutes a policy for hospice billing of preventive vaccines that is comparable to what is applicable for home health providers, except that home health agencies are paid at the outpatient prospective payment rate and hospices will be paid based on the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS). In its manual updates connected to CR9052, CMS underscores that preventive vaccines are not part of the hospice benefit and must be billed on a separate claim that includes only the vaccines and their administration. The manual changes also indicate that while any hospice currently billing preventive vaccines as a supplier may change its processes so as to bill vaccines on the institutional claim, a hospice enrolled as a supplier under Part B may also continue to bill vaccines through Part B if it wishes to.

As part of CR9052, CMS also includes the following new language in Chapter 18 (Preventive and Screening Services) of the Medicare Claims Processing Manual under section 10.2.3:

The following provides billing instructions for hospices:

Hospices can provide the influenza virus, pneumococcal, and hepatitis B vaccines to those beneficiaries who request them including those who have elected the hospice benefit. These services may be covered when furnished by the hospice.

For dates of service before October 1, 2016, services for vaccines and their administration provided by a hospice should be billed on a professional claim to the local MAC. Payment is made using the same methodology as if they were a supplier. Hospices that do not have a supplier number should contact their MAC to obtain one in order to bill for these benefits.

For dates of service on or after October 1, 2016, services for vaccines and their administration provided by a hospice may be billed on an institutional claim.

Following is a link to a CMS document regarding Medicare Part B Immunization Billing containing applicable procedure codes and descriptors, as well as additional information related to institutional billers. This document has not yet been updated to include the hospice types of bills (081x or 082x) in the list of Facility Types and Types of Bills on page 4.

NAHC reminds hospice providers that currently bill for preventive vaccines as suppliers that this change will not be effective until October 1, 2016, so hospices currently enrolled as suppliers may wish to maintain that enrollment at least until that time. As additional information about this change becomes available, it will be published in NAHC Report.




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