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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

NAHC Provides Update on Pre-Claim Review Demonstration, Model Letter of Information to Physicians

July 28, 2016 12:45 PM

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) continues working to stop or change the pre-claim review project, while taking steps to prepare for it as well. For your reference, NAHC is providing a model notice to physicians that agencies can use to explain what is happening to physicians who refer to home health. This article is primarily intended for home health agencies in the five states targeted for Medicare home health pre-claim reviews (Illinois, Florida, Texas, Michigan and Massachusetts). However, there may be interest in this topic in other states as well.

NAHC’s logo has been included on the draft letter, and NAHC suggests you add your agency’s identifying information as well. This might help get the message across to physicians that the agencies are not the party to blame for their increase in paperwork.

NAHC has not drafted a patient notice as the impact on individual patients is speculative and likely to vary greatly. Also, NAHC does not want to create patient anxiety or fear needlessly.

Beyond this draft letter to physicians, NAHC has instituted an information collection effort that will be unveiled shortly in Illinois as a starting point. The information is intended to gives us a real time “before and after” understanding of the impact of pre-claim review on resource use, billing and payment timing, patient acceptance and discharge, cash flow, and the outcome of pre-claim review requests. The data collection tool should be available shortly and NAHC will share it with you then. At this point, a number of Illinois HHAs have agreed to participate.

NAHC staff recently met with the heads of Medicare Program Integrity and Chronic Care Policy. CMS listened to NAHC’s ideas, but remained committed to moving forward with pre-claim reviews, at least in Illinois. The experience there will dictate whether anything changes in the other states. NAHC made several recommendations on how to scale the project back so the workload is more reasonable. CMS seemed to like the ideas, but only as fallback actions if they find they cannot meet the workload of reviews.

While some members of Congress want to help, the national party conventions and Congressional recess have detoured their doing so. NAHC is encouraging Congress to act very soon. However, CMS continues to rebuff the “soft” efforts from Congress on all fronts. CMS announced the start of hospital star ratings this week in spite of intense Congressional opposition, so the issue now requires legislation which is not an easily accessible option at this point.

A lawsuit is still an option but one NAHC wanted to hold off on while trying less aggressive approaches. The chances of success for a lawsuit would be improved by any facts indicating that the project has triggered harm following the August 1 start.

NAHC hopes the physician information letter is helpful to agencies. If you have ideas on additional ways in which NAHC can be of assistance, please share them with NAHC’s staff. It does appear that some agencies have begun to accelerate their processes for getting the documents needed from physicians so that they can quickly submit them for review. This is definitely a key factor in making the project work better for the home health agency. Another key is getting favorable review decisions, which remains to be seen.

The model physician information letter is available here.




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