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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

Heath 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

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


NAHC Announces Hospice Track for 2015 Financial Management Conference

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) today released details on the Hospice Education Track, one of the four concurrent education tracks that will be offered during the 2015 Financial Management Conference.  Conference participants will have the opportunity to choose one of four concurrent education tracks including: the Home Health Track, the Hospice Track, the Innovations Track, and the Leadership Track.  Last week, NAHC released details on the Home Health Track.  This article provides a summary of the Hospice Track.  Subsequent articles will provide further details regarding the Innovations Track and the Leadership Track.

“The Hospice Track provides hospice executives with the strategies and information they need to bring down costs and provide more effective care,” said William Dombi, Vice President for Law at NAHC and the Director of the Home Care & Hospice Financial Management Association, a NAHC affiliate.  “We will offer the tools and knowledge needed to build an effective palliative care program, increase revenue, use benchmarks to improve performance, and comply with Medicare billing requirements.”

The Hospice Track will include four sessions covering effective palliative care programs, hospice revenue growth, using benchmarks to your advantage, and complying with Medicare billing requirements.  Here are more details regarding the four programs offered to Hospice Track participants:

102. How to Build an Effective Palliative Care Program

Over the past several years, there has been a significant increase in interest, demand and development of programs that serve patients who do not elect or meet eligibility criteria for home health or hospice, and who would otherwise fall between the cracks of traditional health care service lines. Palliative Care and Advanced Illness Management (AIM) programs remain an enigma because they lack specific regulations or guidance in terms of setting, reimbursement, operations, stage in the disease process, or delivery models.  Many home care organizations are eager to develop such programs but are uncertain how to proceed given the lack of clear structure and reimbursement. This session will review the goals, models and reimbursement for Palliative Care and Advanced Illness Management programs, as well as provide guidance on the start-up and funding considerations for these programs. 

This session is based upon a HHFMA White Paper on Palliative Care, of which draft/final copies will be shared with participants who attend this session.  The white paper is intended to enable you to determine the overall feasibility of creating a great palliative care program at your agency. 

202. Hospice Revenue Growth

Hospices can generate new revenues in three ways—find new patients who have not previously used hospice, take market share from a competitor and admit patients earlier in their terminal disease trajectory.  A hospice must evaluate which strategy best fits its situation.  Hospices need to assess their market and determine which approach is best.  The soon to be published hospice quality data will give providers a way of differentiating themselves versus their competition.

Approximately 7 percent of all Medicare patients who are discharged from hospitals die within 30 days.  Most of those individuals do not enter hospice, but die in hospitals or other facilities. 

While average length of stay in hospice has increased in the past decade, median length has not changed.  Too many patients are admitted to hospice in the last few days prior to death, in crisis, and do not reap the full benefits of hospice care.  Palliative care or advanced illness programs can capture referrals earlier in the disease progression; advertising  has also proven successful in increasing family referrals, which usually have a longer LOS.

302.The Power of Benchmarks:  Using Benchmarks to Drive Hospice Performance Improvement

As Medicare continues to squeeze payment rates, increase regulatory requirements, and consider revisions to the benefit and payment model, hospice leaders are searching for ways to improve their financial and operational performance.  Benchmarks can be a powerful tool to help identify where hospice agencies have an opportunity to improve.  The trick is knowing how to use the benchmarks to your advantage and to actually improve performance.  This program will help provide you with the approach and tools for using benchmark data to improve the performance of your hospice agency. 

402.  Hospice Revenue Cycle: Optimizing Compliance & Effectiveness

Hospice regulatory requirements have become increasingly complex in recent years and 2014 was no exception, with substantial changes occurring to Medicare billing requirements.  These requirements are expected to continue to change and the Medicare hospice benefit continues to receive heightened scrutiny from CMS and program integrity contractors.  It is critical that hospice providers take time now to examine the revenue cycle process to identify potential threats to compliance and cash flow, as well as to prepare for expected future regulatory changes. 

This session will focus on strategies for optimizing the revenue cycle process by examining and  applying industry revenue cycle performance benchmarks, analyzing typical revenue cycle compliance threats, and assessing strategies for periodic compliance audits.

For more details and to register for the Financial Management Conference, please click here.

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