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Testimonials

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. 

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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.

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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

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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 element...it’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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Former President Bill Clinton

CMS Open Door Forum Summary

August 29, 2016 09:20 AM

CMS held a Home Health, Hospice and DME Open Door Forum (ODF) on August 23.  A summary of the call is below.

Home Health

1. CMS contractor, Abt Associates, delivered a presentation - Home Health Payment Reform – The Home Health Groupings Model (HHGM). The HHGM is still being developed and a Technical Report will be released on it later this year. The HHGM addresses some concerns with the current Medicare home health payment structure, as identified by MedPAC (Medicare Payment Advisory Commission).  The HHGM requires no change to how the OASIS is currently completed but uses 30-day time periods instead of 60 day periods.  According to Abt Associates this would better align payment with costs since episodes have more visits on average during the first 30 days than the last 30 days. Under the HHGM, a HHRG is derived from

  • Referral source and timing of the episode (community or institutional/early or late)
  • Clinical groupings (six different groups)
  • Functional/cognitive level
  • Comorbidity adjustment

The slides used in the presentation are available at the link above or by clicking here.

2. Home health Value Based Purchasing (HHVBP) – CMS indicated that the Quarterly Performance Reports were released in July, via the HHVBP Secure Portal, for the nine states that are part of the model.

3. HHCAHPS - Home Health Care CAHPS Survey – For HHCAHPS assistance, email HHCAHPS@RTI.ORG. The official HHCAHPS website is https://homehealthcahps.org. The email address for the Home Health APU reconsiderations mailbox is HHAPureConsiderations@cms.hhs.gov

4. IMPACT Act – CMS will host a Special Open Door Forum on September 15, 2016 from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern.  Instructions for participating in this ODF will be posted soon.

Hospice

The hospice portion of the ODF included a summary of recent releases from CMS as outlined below.

1. FY2017 Hospice Wage Index and Payment Rate Update and Hospice Quality Reporting Program Update (FY2017 Final Rule)

Click here for NAHC’s detailed summary of the FY2017 final rule.

2. Hospice Data Directory Update and HIS Date Specifications Update  – This Directory provides the Hospice Agency dataset, which contains a list of all hospices certified by Medicare and high-level demographic data for each agency including:

  • Provider name
  • Complete address
  • Ownership type
  • CMS Certification Number (CCN)
  • Profit status
  • Date of original CMS certification

Hospices are encouraged to review their information in the Directory for accuracy.  If agecy data is not listed in the database, is incorrect, or has changed, contact your Regional Office (RO) Coordinator. A RO Coordinators list is also included with the Hospice Data Directory.

Also, the updated HIS Hospice Data Specs (v2.00.0) that are effective April 1, 2017 are now available on the HIS Technical Information webpage, Downloads section.  Note that there were no changes from the previously posted draft version of these specifications.

3. Change Request 9590 - This CR creates a new condition code – 85 -- to be used when the hospice received the recertification of terminal illness later than 2 days after the first day of a new benefit period. This code is reported with occurrence span code (OSC) 77, which reports the provider liable days associated with the untimely recertification. CMS is implementing the new condition code 85 to identify a late recertification so that Medicare systems will be able to distinguish between whether the provider-liable days declared by the provider are due to a late certification or to a late Notice of Election (NOE), and to allow the hospice certification date (designated by occurrence code 27) to be included on the claim in conjunction with OSC 77 dates in cases where the NOE is untimely.  The requirement becomes effective January 1, 2017.

Please note that until this CR becomes effective, the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) have been instructed to override the edit that is currently occurring in error.

Also as part of CR 9590, CMS is correcting other systems problems related to the new hospice payment system for routine home care (RHC) and the service-intensity add-on (SIA).  These system problems (which will also be corrected effective January 1, 2017) include:

  • Systems not counting all hospice benefit period days when the period is not separated by 60 days for purposes of determining whether a high or low RHC payment should be paid;
  • Systems not looking back at a prior month’s claim in some situations to determine if there are SIA-eligible visits that should be paid; and
  • Systems incorrectly recouping SIA payments in error if a provider subsequently adjusts the claim again.

4. Medicare Care Choices Model (MCCM) – CMS provided a review of the Model’s design.  More information can be found at the CMS MCCM webpage.

5. Hospice Quality Reporting Program
For technical assistance with Hospice CAHPS, please contact the CAHPS Hospice Survey Project Team: hospicecahpssurvey@HCQIS.org or 1-844-472-4621
To communicate with CMS staff about implementation issues: hospicesurvey@cms.hhs.gov
For information about the CMS Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP) Web site: http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-PatientAssessment-Instruments/Hospice-QualityRep​orting/index.html?redirect=/Hospice-Quality-Reporting/

The next CMS Home Health, Hospice and DME ODF is scheduled for October 5, 2016.

 

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