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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

MedPAC Chairman Testifies at House Subcommittee Hearing on Medicare Benefit Design

NAHC Offers Written Testimony for the Record Opposing Home Health and Hospice Copays
April 12, 2013 09:44 AM

On April 11, 2013 MedPAC Chairman Glenn Hackbarth testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health at a hearing entitled, “Strengthening Medicare for Seniors: Understanding the Challenges of Traditional Medicare's Benefit Design.” Mr. Hackbarth was the hearing’s only witness, and offered the Subcommittee members MedPAC’s perspective on Medicare’s benefit design – and particularly on proposed changes to cost sharing within the program.

Throughout the hearing, Subcommittee members asked Mr. Hackbarth about possible changes to Medicare’s plan design – including MedPAC’s recommendation to add a catastrophic cap on out-of-pocket costs, proposals for a universal deductible for parts A and B of Medicare, MedPAC’s suggestion to add a charge for supplemental Medicare (Medigap) policies, and general inquiries into whether or not Medicare’s benefits package was generous enough or too generous for current and future beneficiaries. Several members of the Subcommittee offered their support for a combined deductible for Parts A and B, while others asked about home health care specifically.

In an exchange with Congressman Jim Matheson (D-UT), Mr. Hackbarth emphasized that MedPAC believes that, “good home health care is an essential part of good quality care for Medicare beneficiaries.” His comments came in response to a line of questioning about access to home care services. Congressman Matheson suggested that reports of waste, fraud and abuse within Medicare’s home health benefit were isolated to certain areas of the country and most home health agencies – such as those in his home state of Utah – are, “doing the right thing.”

Andrea Devoti, Chairwoman of NAHC’s Board of Directors, submitted written testimony on behalf of NAHC detailing the organization’s opposition to proposals to impose home health and hospice copays. MedPAC has recommended a copay for home health episodes not preceded by a hospital or nursing home stay – and suggested that the amount be $150 per episode (5 percent of average cost).  The Simpson-Bowles Commission recommended a uniform 20 percent copay for all Medicare services, including home health and hospice.  This would amount to $600 to access an episode of home health care and an estimated $2000 to access the typical length of stay on hospice.

As a counter-measure to the increasing calls from some policy makers to shift more of the costs onto Medicare’s beneficiaries, NAHC’s testimony illustrates how copays can discourage use of necessary and beneficial care, stating that:

“Numerous studies have concluded that a copay can discourage use of necessary and beneficial care, resulting in the deterioration of a patient’s condition and ultimately leading to higher costs for the Medicare program through acute care interventions in higher cost settings. With hospice patients, barriers to comfort at the end of life add both avoidable costs and avoidable pain.”

In its testimony, NAHC offered proposals to strengthen Medicare program integrity as well as innovative ideas to expand the use of home care and hospice to ensure the delivery of high quality care at less cost to Medicare. NAHC remains committed to working with all members of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee while opposing any attempts to impose cost-sharing measures that would restrict access to home care and hospice services. NAHC’s testimony will be included as part of the official record, and is also available online here.

All NAHC members are urged to contact their elected officials through NAHC’s Legislative Action Network and urge them to preserve access to vital home care and hospice services by opposing additional cuts and copays to such programs.

To get more information on yesterday’s Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing – including the written testimony of Mr. Hackbarth and a background memorandum on the purpose of the hearing - please click here.




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