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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

Details from the CMS Emergency Preparedness Requirements Call

October 19, 2016 02:54 PM

On October 5 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) held a telephone call to discuss the new requirements and revisions of the final rule on Emergency Preparedness. The phone call also covered how to plan for both natural and man-made disasters, while coordinating with other emergency preparedness systems.

As reported by NAHC, on September 8 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a rule creating emergency preparedness requirements for health care providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid. The rule, Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers, aims to improve patient safety and establish coordinated responses to natural and man-made disasters. The rule requires all 17 provider and supplier types to plan for disasters and coordinate with federal, state, regional, tribal and local emergency preparedness systems.

While we encourage you to read or listen to the entire transcript, NAHC would like to draw your attention to a couple of points in the call.

Firstly, the Survey and Certification Group is in the process of developing the interpretive guidelines. The surveyors will use the interpretive guidelines and survey procedures in State Operations Manual (SOM), and the interpretive guidelines will assist in the implementation of the new regulation. CMS anticipates the interpretive guidelines will be complete by the spring of 2017. Unlike other Conditions of Participation, which, at times, are changes or added to existing appendices within the SOM, we are creating a whole new appendix and a whole new set of tags for surveyors for these requirements.

Facilities will have one year to come into compliance with the requirements and if, after one year, a survey finds non-compliance, the same general process of enforcement will occur as when other conditions of non-compliance are found, such as termination of the provider agreement.

CMS has refaced their emergency preparedness website to include some information related to the regulation, which they will continuously update with resources, such as provider checklists, sample plans, and example forms.

CMS does not specify exactly how a facility should have emergency plans documented and in what order. Upon being surveyed, a facility must be able to demonstrate that the plans exist and where they are located. The burden of proof is always with the provider.

On the issue of how these regulations will be monitored for compliance, CMS notes that each provider and supplier will be surveyed for compliance with the requirements as currently carried out with any other existing CoPs. CMS does not require the facility’s plans be approved by State or local emergency officials, though the regulation does require coordination with State and local emergency officials, depending on the provider type. It is within the discretion of the provider if they want their emergency preparedness plans to be approved by State/local officials.

Providers have one year to implement these requirements and there will be no waivers for the requirements for compliance. The same process for termination as any of the other CoPs will be followed.

You can read the full transcript of the call right here.

The new emergency preparedness rule is 600 pages long and the penalties for non-compliance, as noted above, are considerable. What home care and hospice providers need is detailed information on exactly what must be done and when it must be done in order to comply with the new rule. Fortunately, NAHC has you covered. We will be holding a pre-conference workshop to address all your concerns and answer your questions about the new emergency preparedness guidelines.

The pre-conference workshop is very reasonably priced at $250 for members and $350 for non-members. That’s not much compared to the potential cost of non-compliance with the new rule.

More information about the pre-conference workshop may be found here.

To register for the event go here.

Pre Conference Workshop

Sunday, October 23, 2016, 8 a.m. to noon (This pre-conference is 4 hours long and includes breakfast)

The NEW Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers

This interactive workshop, which places special emphasis on home-based care (including home health and hospice home and inpatient care) will assist agencies in understanding and executing the four major components of the regulation, which are:

  1. Developing an Emergency Plan (ALL HAZARDS APPROACH):  Providers must develop an emergency plan using an all-hazards approach focusing on capacities and capabilities that are critical to preparedness for a full spectrum of emergencies and disasters.
  2. Establishing Organizational Policies and Procedures:  Providers must develop and implement policies and procedures based on the emergency plan and risk assessment.
  3. Developing and Maintaining a Communication Plan:  Providers must develop and maintain a communication plan that complies with both federal and state law. Patient care must be well-coordinated within the facility, across health care providers and with state and local public health departments and emergency systems.
  4. Conduct a Training and Testing Program:  Providers must develop and maintain training and testing programs, including initial and annual trainings, and conduct drills and exercises or participate in an actual incident that tests the plan.

OBJECTIVES:  At the conclusion of the session attendees will be able to:

  • Conduct a risk assessment (hazard vulnerability assessment)
  • Describe home health and hospice providers’ role in local healthcare coalitions
  • Secure a GETS/WPS card for communication during an event
  • Define surge capacity , patient classification, and patient transportation levels
  • Identify key areas of the organizational disaster plan that require revision or enhancement

SPECIAL NOTE:  PACE programs are welcome to attend as this session is applicable to PACE as well.

Faculty: Barbara B. Citarella MS, RN, President, RBC Limited Healthcare & Management Consultants, Staatsburg, NY

Barbara Citarella is the CEO, President, and founder of the award winning national company RBC Limited, a healthcare and management company specializing in healthcare operations including home care and hospice. She has worked extensively with agencies in the areas of infection control, disaster preparedness, corporate compliance, accreditation, strategic planning and leadership.

Citarella was part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) committee to rewrite the DHS/FEMA Disaster Preparedness Guidelines for People with Special Needs. She also was recently appointed as the Chairperson of the National Ebola Taskforce. Barbara has served as a subject matter expert panel member on the pandemic flu for the CDC, AMA and AHRQ. She was a contributing member to the AHRQ’s document on “Home Health Care and the Pandemic Flu” released in 2008. She participated in the CDC Pandemic Workshop for Primary Practitioners and Long Term Care. She was a member of APIC’s (Association of Practitioners in Infection Control) Emergency Disaster Planning committee.

Citarella is internationally recognized for her expertise in disaster preparedness and infection control and has been appointed to several committees and panels of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Citarella was appointed to serve as Co-Chairperson for the National Association’s Hurricane Katrina Task Force. She was the lead on the first national research project ever conducted on the home care and hospice industry’s response to the H1N1 Pandemic. Results were published 2011 in the American Journal of Infection Control, a peer reviewed journal.

Citarella is a professional registered nurse with a master’s degree in science, which she obtained from Pace University in New York where she served on the University’s Professional Advisory Board for the Lienhard School of Nursing. She is a founding member of the Mu Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing.




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