Skip to Main Content
National Association for Home Care & Hospice
Twitter Facebook Pintrest


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

Hospice Quality Updates Include Posting of New HIS Specs and Harvey Disaster Exceptions/Exemptions

September 13, 2017 03:56 PM

HospiceOver recent days the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued numerous hospice quality updates, including notices related to the following issues:


Additional information is posted below.

Final Version HIS Specs:  On September 5, CMS posted the final version of the Hospice Item Set (HIS) data submission specifications (v2.01.1) in the downloads section of the HIS Technical Information webpage. This version of the specifications will go into effect on April 1, 2018.  There have been no additional changes since Errata V2.01.1.  This version of the data specifications consists of the following files:

  • Hospice data specs overview (v2.01.1) FINAL 08-15-2017.pdf
  • Hospice data dictionary (v2.01.1) FINAL
  • Hospice data specs CSV files (v2.01.1) FINAL
  • Hospice data specs HTML files (v2.01.1) FINAL
  • Hospice data specs PDF files (v2.01.1) FINAL

These files are contained in a single ZIP file named “Hospice Data Specs (v2.01.1) FINAL”.

REMINDER: CY 2017 Participation Exemption for Size Form Available:  As a reminder, the Participation Exemption for Size Form for the calendar year (CY) 2017 CAHPS Hospice Survey data collection and reporting requirements is available to complete and submit on the CAHPS Hospice Survey Web site ( Hospices that served fewer than 50 survey-eligible decedents/caregivers in CY 2016 (January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016 [or from assignment of CCN]) can apply for an exemption from participation in the CAHPS Hospice Survey for CY 2017. The Participation Exemption for Size Form will be available to complete and submit online until December 31, 2017.

Please note:  Exemptions on the basis of size are active for one year only. If a hospice continues to meet the eligibility requirements for this exemption in subsequent years, the organization will need to again request the exemption.

If a hospice has questions regarding the Participation Exemption for Size process or how to complete the Participation Exemption for Size Form, please contact the CAHPS Hospice Survey Project Team: or 1-844-472-4621.

To view or complete the Participation Exemption for Size Form, please click HERE

Hurricane Harvey - Disaster Exceptions/Exemptions for Medicare Certified Providers Affected by Severe Storms and Flooding:  CMS has granted exceptions under certain Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs to acute care hospitals, PPS-exempt cancer hospitals, inpatient psychiatric facilities, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, outpatient dialysis facilities, long-term care hospitals, and ambulatory surgical centers located in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey due to the devastating impact of the storm. These providers will be granted exceptions without having to submit an extraordinary circumstances exception request if they are located in one of the Texas counties or Louisiana parishes, all of which have been designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a major disaster county.

The scope and duration of the exception under each Medicare quality reporting program is described in the memo posted on 8-31-17, however, all of the exceptions are being granted to assist these providers while they direct their resources toward caring for their patients and repairing structural damages to facilities.

For hospice providers, CMS is granting an exception to all Quality Reporting Program (QRP) reporting requirements, including the reporting of data on measures and any other data requested by CMS for the post-acute care (PAC) quality reporting programs for calendar year 2017 quarters 2 and 3 under the Hospice Quality Reporting Program. 

CMS will provide additional information about the extension and exceptions related to the PAC QRP submission requirements in subsequent announcements.

If FEMA expands the current disaster declaration for Hurricane Harvey to include additional counties or parishes, CMS will update the above-referenced memo to expand the list of providers eligible to receive an exception without submitting a request to include the hospitals, PPS-exempt cancer hospitals, inpatient psychiatric facilities, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term care hospitals, and ambulatory surgical centers located in the additional counties and parishes.

In addition, CMS will continue to monitor the situation and adjust exempted reporting periods and submission deadlines accordingly.

Additional details and materials are available on the Hurricane page and the Hospice Extensions and Exemptions Request webpage. Please check back frequently for updates.





©  National Association for Home Care & Hospice. All Rights Reserved.