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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 to Remove all Social Security Numbers from Medicare Cards by April 2019

October 6, 2016 02:26 PM

Social Security Numbers (SSN) will be removed from all Medicare cards by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) no later than April 2019, in accordance with the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015. CMS is calling this the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI).

The SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) will be replaced with a new randomly generated Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) on the new Medicare cards for transactions like claim status and eligibility status and billing. The new system will assign the new MBI to each beneficiary and send them a new Medicare card.

Like the SSN, the MBI is confidential and all parties protect it as Personally Identifiable Information. CMS believes the SSNRI and its new system will enable it to better protect private health care and financial information, as well as federal health care benefit and service payments.

CMS has already begun work on the SSNRI and wants providers to shift to the new MBI by April 2018 – only a year-and-a-half from this writing. By that April 2018 date, CMS hopes to begin sending the new Medicare cards with the MBI to all Medicare beneficiaries. No cards will be sent out before April 2018. Providers will be able to use either the HICN or the MBI to exchange data during a transition period beginning no earlier than April 1, 2018 and ending at midnight December 31, 2019.

The new MBI will be 11 characters in length and should be clearly distinguishable from existing HICN. In addition, the new MBI will contain no special characters, being made up entirely of numbers and uppercase letters.

CMS urges providers to examine their management systems to determine what changes they need to make to use the randomly generated MBI and put those changes into place by April 2018 – before the first new Medicare cards are sent to beneficiaries. If providers use vendors to bill Medicare, they should contact those vendors and inquire about their MBI practice management systems.

Providers should ask patients at the time of service if they have received their new MBI Medicare cards. During the transition period, if providers submit a claim using the patients’ HICN, CMS will return the MBI on the remittance advice. CMS will use the message field on the eligibility transaction responses to inform providers when a new Medicare card has been sent to each beneficiary.

Providers may use the MBI or HICN to check Medicare eligibility during the transition period, but may only use MBI after the transition period ends. When filing appeals, providers should use the MBI or HICN used to submit the claim originally, even after the transition period ends.

During the transition period, providers may use either the HICN or MBI – but not both -- in the same field where they have always entered the HICN and CMS will return the MBI on the remittance advice for all submitted claims.

Beneficiaries will be able to use their new Medicare cards and MBI immediately upon receiving them and there will be no change to their Medicare benefits. Providers should use the MBI as soon as their patients receive their new Medicare cards, but CMS will accept HICN or MBI during the transition period. However, all providers must be ready to accept the MBI by April 2018.

NAHC Report will continue to monitor this issue for updates so stay tuned. You may also want to periodically check the SSNRI page for providers.




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