Statement by Val J. Halamandaris, President National Association for Home Care & Hospice
For additional information:
Barbara D. Woolley
Washington, D.C. (February 29, 2012) On behalf of the members of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), I want to congratulate the Department of Health & Human Services, the Department of Justice, and Texas law enforcement agencies for taking forthright action to stem what appears to be a coordinated scheme to divert federal money intended for care of the aged and infirm. We believe that all Americans are entitled to the presumption of innocence, and we do not want to prejudge this case without having all the facts. However, the facts on the surface appear to be fairly compelling.
NAHC has always had a zero-tolerance policy for those who would look to divert funds from Medicare and Medicaid for their own personal gain. We believe it is NAHCs duty to help protect patients at all costs; similarly it is our collective duty to protect the integrity of public programs. NAHC has advocated for comprehensive integrity programs, such as screening home health agencies that seek to participate in the Medicare program, evaluating the background of those who own or manage home health agencies, and strengthening physician involvement in planning and delivery of home health care. We believe it is imperative that home health agencies faithfully execute physician orders calling for the extension of in-home medical care while following the highest standards of care. As disappointing as this case is, it is heartening to see federal and state officials collaborating to stop allegedly inappropriate and perhaps illegal activities.
The notoriety that this case has already received should send the message that government does not intend to sit back and allow the continuation of questionable practices. It should serve as a warning to providers that they will face greater scrutiny. The end result of all this should be to improve the fiscal integrity of government programs. All in all, this is good news for those who believe the receipt of government funds to care for the aged and ill is a sacred trust and should be treated as such.
Mr. Halamandaris served as Counsel to the U.S. Senate and House Committees on Aging for some 20 years. Before coming to NAHC as its CEO in 1982, he helped write the laws creating the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Health & Human Services, making Medicare and Medicaid fraud a felony, outlawing kickbacks, upgrading the mail fraud statute, and creating state Medicaid fraud units.
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is a nonprofit organization that represents the nations 33,000 home care and hospice organizations. NAHC also advocates for the more than two million nurses, therapists, aides and other caregivers employed by such organizations to provide in-home services to some 12 million Americans each year who are infirm, chronically ill, and disabled. Along with its advocacy, NAHC provides information to help its members provide the highest quality of care and is committed to excellence in every respect. To learn more about NAHC, visit www.nahc.org.