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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 Suspends Pre-Claim Reviews: New Approach in Development

March 31, 2017 04:54 PM

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today that it was suspending the Pre-Claim Review Demonstration program (PCRD) that has been sharply criticized by the home health community. Since the start of PCRD in Illinois in August 2016, numerous members of Congress joined with NAHC and home health agencies in the five targeted states to express concerns with PCRD and its impact on care access and cost. Among the opponents of PCRD was then-Congressman Tom Price, currently Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

NAHC, along with several home health agency executives, met Tuesday with the new CMS Administrator Seema Verma who requested the meeting so she could hear first-hand about the difficulties with PCRD. The home health delegation conveyed that PCRD has found that the source of any “improper payments” is limited to documentation deficiencies. PCRD has not found any fraud or unnecessary care. NAHC explained to the Administrator that more effective and efficient solutions are available to correct any paperwork errors. PCRD is expected to cost $300 million for just the five targeted states. The delegation committed to partner with CMS to develop and institute those alternatives.

The immediate impact of the CMS action is two-fold. The PCRD project will not start in Florida on April 1 as planned. Second, the PCRD will stop in Illinois. The announcement states:

“As of April 1, 2017, the Pre-Claim Review demonstration will be paused for at least 30 days in Illinois. The demonstration will not expand to Florida on April 1, 2017. 

After March 31, 2017, and continuing throughout the pause, the Medicare Administrative Contractors will not accept any Pre-Claim Review requests.  During the pause, home health claims can be submitted for payment and will be paid under normal claim processing rules. CMS will notify providers at least 30 days in advance via an update to this website of further developments related to the demonstration.”

In our meeting with the CMS Administrator, it was indicated that CMS will be reforming the PCRD demonstration. Going forward, CMS will make pre-claim review an optional process for home health agencies. Those HHAs that use PCR will be exempted from the risks of post-pay review absent any indications of fraud.

CMS also intends to develop a more targeted approach to pre-claim reviews, focusing on the first episode of care, certain diagnosis, and HHAs that do not demonstrate a sufficient level of compliance performance. This revised program will be initiated in the coming weeks.

The home health community has many to thank for this action, including the new CMS Administrator Seema Verma. While many members on Congress stood out in support of home health care, virtually the entire congressional delegations from Illinois and Florida, led by Senators Rubio, Nelson, and Durbin, deserve significant credit. Secretary Price and Congressman Jim McGovern who sponsored the legislation last year to suspend PCRD are also clear notables from the House of Representatives.

PCRD has demonstrated that the home health community needs to step up its efforts to achieve responsible levels of compliance with paperwork and documentation requirements in Medicare. NAHC will be working to help make this happen in the coming months.  In addition, NAHC will continue to work to improve some of the unmanageable documentation policies, particularly the face-to-face requirements, which are the root cause of much of the findings of” noncompliance.”   In that regard, CMS has opened up the lines of communication to consider policy changes. Additionally, F2F reform legislation should be introduced as early as next week.

The CMS announcement on PCRD can be found at: https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-and-systems/monitoring-programs/medicare-ffs-compliance-programs/pre-cl​aim-review-initiatives/overview.html

 

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