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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, NAHC Seek Input on Hospice Proposed Rule

Recording of NAHC Web Event Providing Analysis of Proposed Rule Remains Available
May 12, 2016 09:09 AM

As reported in the April 22, 2016 NAHC Report, CMS released the Medicare Program; FY2017 Hospice Wage Index and Payment Rate Update and Hospice Quality Reporting Requirements (CMS-1652-P), the proposed payment and policy rule for the Medicare hospice benefit for fiscal year (FY) 2017. Since the FY2016 rule contained significant payment refinements and other payment-related policy changes, the rule (as anticipated) focuses more heavily on hospice quality issues.  CMS is seeking input on all components of the proposed rule, but we would like to draw your attention to the following areas:

1.     CMS proposes use of two new hospice quality reporting program (HQRP) measures (beginning April 1, 2017):

a.     Hospice Visits When Death is Imminent- assessing hospice staff visits to patients and caregivers in the last week of life; and

b.     Hospice and Palliative Care Composite Process Measure- assessing the percentage of hospice patients who received care processes consistent with existing guidelines

2.     Comprehensive Patient Assessment Instrument

CMS is considering developing a new data collection mechanism for use by hospices -- a hospice patient assessment instrument -- which would serve two primary objectives concordant with the Affordable Care Act legislation: (1) to provide the quality data necessary for HQRP requirements and the current function of the HIS; and (2) to provide additional clinical data that could inform future payment refinements. This assessment would take the place of the existing HIS admission and discharge instruments.

3.     Public Reporting, Hospice Compare Site, and Star Rating

CMS anticipates that public reporting of the eligible HIS quality measures on the CMS Compare Web site for hospice agencies will begin sometime in the spring/summer of CY 2017. CMS is prepared to share HQRP information such as hospice demographic data and general information about hospice data publicly on the website in CY2016.

CMS has determined that all seven HIS measures are eligible for public reporting. Therefore, CMS plans to publicly report all seven HIS measures on a CMS Compare Web site for hospice agencies. Individual scores for each of the seven HIS measure scores would be reported.

Consistent with many other CMS CAHPS® surveys that are publicly reported on CMS Web sites, CMS will publicly report hospice data when at least 12 months of data are available, so that valid comparisons can be made across hospice providers in the United States, in order to help patients, family, friends, and caregivers choose the right hospice program.

A Hospice Compare site is currently under development. Like other CMS Compare Web sites, the Hospice Compare Web site will, in time, feature a star rating system of 1 to 5 stars for each hospice. Hospices will have prepublication access to their own agency’s quality data, which enables each agency to know how it is performing before public posting of data on the Hospice Compare Web site. CMS will announce the timeline for development and implementation of the star rating system in future rulemaking.

4.     NQF-endorsed Hospice Quality Reporting Measures

Quality measures selected for the HQRP must be endorsed by the NQF unless they meet the statutory criteria for exception under section 1814(i)(5)(D)(ii) of the Act. CMS proposes to codify that if measures currently used in the HQRP undergo non-substantive changes in the specifications as part of their NQF re-endorsement process, CMS would subsequently utilize the measure with the new endorsed status in the HQRP without going through new notice-and-comment rulemaking.

5.     CAHPS Hospice Survey Participation and Exemption

CMS proposes that hospices that received their CCN after January 1, 2017, are exempted from the FY 2019 APU Hospice CAHPS® requirements due to newness. This exemption will be determined by CMS. The exemption is for 1 year only. Likewise, CMS proposes the same for hospices that receive their CCN after January 1, 2018 (exempted from the FY 2020 Hospice CAHPS® requirements due to newness.)

6.     Estimate of the Information Collection Burden

CMS is seeking information on the accuracy of the estimate of the information collection burden and the quality, utility, and clarify of the information to be collected as well as recommendations to minimize the information collection burden. More information on this can be found in Section IV of the proposed rule.

NAHC and its affiliate, the Hospice Association of America (HAA), sponsored a web event in which a few hundred stakeholders participated on April 27, 2016.  NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris, Theresa Forster, and Katie Wehri provided detail and analysis of the proposed rule during the one-hour session. Click here to order or access a recording/materials related to the web event.

NAHC and HAA are crafting comments to CMS and request your feedback on any of the issues outlined above. In order for your views to be considered for inclusion in NAHC’s comments, please submit your feedback to or by June 10, 2016. We also encourage you to submit comments directly to CMS (instructions can be found in the proposed rule).




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