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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 Releases Final Emergency Preparedness Rule

September 16, 2016 09:42 AM

As NAHC has previously reported, CMS released proposed emergency preparedness rules in late 2013 for which The National Association of Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) submitted comments.  CMS has three years from the date of publication of a proposed rule to finalize it or the rule-making process must be initiated again.  With a little time to spare, CMS published the final emergency preparedness rule in the Federal Register on September 8.  Much of the requirements are the same or similar to the proposed rule.  The below provides you a summary of the proposed rule for hospice and home health. In addition, NAHChas developed a side by side comparison of the requirement as proposed and finalized for both home health and hospice organizations. Changes are outlined in bulleted format below.

All provider types covered by this final rule have what CMS considers to be the four core elements to an effective and comprehensive emergency preparedness plan structure, which can be used across provider types while tailoring requirements to provider specifics:

  1. Risk assessment and emergency We are requiring facilities to perform a risk assessment that uses an "all-hazards" approach prior to establishing an emergency plan. The all hazards risk assessment will be used to identify the essential components to be integrated into the facility emergency plan. An all-hazards approach is an integrated approach to emergency preparedness planning that focuses on capacities and capabilities that are critical to preparedness for a full spectrum of emergencies or disasters. This approach is specific to the location of the provider or supplier and considers the particular types of hazards most likely to occur in their areas. These may include, but are not limited to, care-related emergencies; equipment and power failures; interruptions in communications, including cyber-attacks; loss of a portion or all of a 12 facility; and, interruptions in the normal supply of essentials, such as water and food. Additional information on the emergency preparedness cycle can be found at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Preparedness System website located at: https://www.fema.gov/threat-and-hazard-identification-and-risk-assessment.
  2. Policies and procedures: We are requiring that facilities develop and implement policies and procedures that support the successful execution of the emergency plan and risks identified during the risk assessment process.
  3. Communication plan: We are requiring facilities to develop and maintain an emergency preparedness communication plan that complies with both federal and state law. Patient care must be well-coordinated within the facility, across healthcare providers, and with state and local public health departments and emergency management agencies and systems to protect patient health and safety in the event of a disaster. The following link is to FEMA’s comprehensive preparedness guide to develop and maintain emergency operations plans: https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1828-25045- 0014/cpg_101_comprehensive_preparedness_guide_developing_and_maintaining_emergency_o perations_plans_2010.pdf
  4. Training and testing: We are requiring that a facility develop and maintain an emergency preparedness training and testing program. A well-organized, effective training program must include initial training for new and existing staff in emergency preparedness 13 policies and procedures as well as annual refresher trainings. The facility must offer annual emergency preparedness training so that staff can demonstrate knowledge of emergency procedures. The facility must also conduct drills and exercises to test the emergency plan to identify gaps and areas for improvement. The Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP), developed by FEMA, includes a section on the establishment of a Training and Exercise Planning Workshop (TEPW). The TEPW section provides guidance to organizations in conducting an annual TEPW and developing a Multi-year Training and Exercise Plan (TEP) in line with the (HSEEP): http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1914- 25045-8890/hseep_apr13_.pdf

There are additional links to resources in the final rule including the National Communication System

http://www.hhs.gov/ocio/ea/National%20Communication%20System/ and a myriad of others that will be helpful to providers as they put together their plans.

There are also cost estimates of the burden to providers of implementing these emergency preparedness plans.  At this point, regardless of cost, providers must process but do have some relief in that they are able to work with other providers who are also required to meet these requirements.

Hospice Changes:

  • Revising the introductory text of §418.113 by adding the term "local" to clarify that hospices must also coordinate with local emergency preparedness requirements.
  • Revising §418.113(a)(4) to delete the term "ensuring" and to replace the term "ensure" with "maintain."
  • Revising §418.113(b)(1) to remove the requirement for home-based hospices to track staff and patients.
  • Revising 418.113(b)(1) to clarify that in the event that there is an interruption in services during or due to an emergency, home based hospices must have policies in place for following up with on-duty staff and patients to determine services that are still needed. In addition, they must inform State and local officials of any on-duty staff or patients that they are unable to contact.
  • Revising §418.113(b)(5) to delete the term "ensure" and to replace it with the term "maintain."
  • Revising §418.113(b)(6)(iii)(A) by adding that hospices must have policies and procedures that address the need to sustain pharmaceuticals during an emergency.
  • Revising §418.113(b)(6) by adding a new paragraph (v) to require that inpatient hospices track on-duty staff and patients during an emergency, and, in the event staff or patients are relocated, inpatient hospices must document the specific name and location of the receiving facility or other location to which on-duty staff and patients were relocated to during the emergency.
  • Revising §418.113(c) by adding the term "local" to clarify that the hospice must develop and maintain an emergency preparedness communication plan that also complies with local laws.
  • Revising §418.113(c)(5) to clarify that hospices must develop a means, in the event of an evacuation, to release patient information, as permitted under 45 CFR 164.510(b)(1)(ii).
  • Revising §418.113(d) by adding that each hospice's training and testing program must be based on the hospice's emergency plan, risk assessment, policies and procedures, and communication plan.
  • Revising §418.113(d)(1)(ii) to replace the phrase "Ensure that hospice employees can demonstrate" to "Demonstrate staff."
  • Revising §418.113(d)(2)(i) by replacing the term "community mock disaster drill" with "full-scale exercise."
  • Revising §418.113(d)(2) to allow a hospice to choose the type of exercise it will conduct to meet the second annual testing requirement.
  • Adding §418.113(e) to allow separately certified hospices within a healthcare system to elect to be a part of the healthcare system's emergency preparedness program.

Home Health Changes:

  • Revising the introductory text of §484.22 by adding the term "local" to clarify that HHAs must also comply with local emergency preparedness requirements.
  • Revising §484.22(a)(4) by deleting the term "ensuring" and replacing the term "ensure" with "maintain."
  • Revising §484.22(b)(3) to require that in the event that there is an interruption in services during or due to an emergency, HHAs must have policies in place for following up with patients to determine services that are still needed. In addition, they must inform State and local officials of any on-duty staff or patients that they are unable to contact.
  • Revising §484.22(b)(4) to change the phrase "ensures records are secure and readily available" to "secures and maintains availability of records."
  • Removing §484.22(b)(6) that required that HHAs develop arrangements with other HHAs and other providers to receive patients in the event of limitations or cessation of operations to ensure the continuity of services to HHA patients.
  • Revising §484.22(c) by adding the term "local" to clarify that the HHA must develop and maintain an emergency preparedness communication plan that also complies with local laws.
  • Revising §484.22(c)(1) to remove the requirement that HHAs include the names and contact information for "Other HHAs" in the communication plan.
  • Revising §484.22(d) by adding that each HHA's training and testing program must be based on the HHA's emergency plan, risk assessment, policies and procedures, and communication plan.
  • Revising §484.22(d)(1)(ii) by replacing the phrase "Ensure that staff can demonstrate knowledge" to "Demonstrate staff knowledge."
  • Revising §484.22(d)(2)(i) by replacing the term "community mock disaster drill" with "full-scale exercise."
  • Revising §484.22(d)(2)(ii) to allow a HHA to choose the type of exercise it will conduct to meet the second annual testing requirement.
  • Adding §484.22(e) to allow a separately certified HHA within a healthcare system to elect to be a part of the healthcare system's emergency preparedness program.

Hospice Side by Side

Home Health Side by Side

 

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