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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

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

Advocates for the Disabled in Kansas Show Mixed Feelings towards Governor’s Initiatives

May 17, 2013 03:42 PM

Last week, advocates for the disabled - including the Kansas Developmental Disabilities Policy Group - expressed support for Governor Sam Brownback’s proposal to pay for in-home services with planned Medicaid savings.  Advocates also praised the Governor’s plan to reduce the number of people on waiting lists for Medicaid home and community based services by 600.  That said, advocates continue to protest the Governor’s plans to eventually include long-term supports for the developmentally disabled in KanCare.  A rally on May 10 brought 1,100 people to the statehouse.

Governor Brownback has called for taking $8 million from the “KanCare dividend,” or money saved from transferring beneficiaries from Medicaid to managed care, and $10.5 million in federal funds, to move 600 people off the waiting lists by the end of the next fiscal year.  In Kansas, a disabled child can wait years to receive in-home services.

Advocates recognize that the Governor’s proposal, if enacted, would pose the greatest reform to the waiting list in years.  Some, however, aspire to see further-reaching reforms to the waiting lists, which currently include approximately 5,400 people.  Tim Wood, the campaign manager for End the Wait, a campaign of the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, is pushing for the complete elimination of the waiting lists.  Wood wants an equal number of the 600 people coming off the waiting lists come from the physically disabled and developmentally disabled groups.  Currently, Kansas has two waiting lists, one for each group.   

While advocates have been successful in receiving a year-long period where in-home services would not be administered by KanCare, the administration does not support a permanent “carve-out.”  Angela de Rocha, the spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, stated that a carve-out would cost the state $9 million in the next fiscal year, and “jeopardizes the state’s ability to address the waiting lists.”  Sherriene Jones Sontag, chief spokesperson for Governor Brownback, remarked that the Governor is “fully committed to including DD long-term supports in KanCare effective January 1, 2014.” Ms. Sontag also stated that the governor believes that including these services in KanCare would help reduce the waiting lists.   

The battle in the Kansas legislature intensified last week when Representative David Crum (R) amended a House budget bill that would block the governor’s spending proposal to reduce the waiting lists if advocates succeed in achieving a permanent carve-out. 

While Representative Crum knows that his position is politically unpopular, he believes that full integration into KanCare will result in decreased costs to taxpayers, as well as improved health outcomes.  Tom Laing, the executive director in Interhab, which represents the majority of Kansas’ Community Developmental Disability Organizations, argued instead that past experience with insurance companies have not proven to improve health outcomes and reduce costs.

To see a previous Medicaid Council Report article on the advocates for the disabled in Kansas, clickhere.

To see the full story on recent developments in Kansas, click here, here, here, and here.


Home health providers should be aware that the move to managed care in Medicaid faces opposition from beneficiaries and interest groups alike – and that providers are also not powerless or voiceless in the matter.

Stakeholders can be very useful in improving a state’s transition to managed care in Medicaid. Likewise, if these stakeholders have outright opposition to using managed care in Medicaid, the forums are there to voice those opinions. The main point is that the nature and scope of any state’s consideration or movement to Medicaid managed care is neither automatic nor a decision made in a vacuum.

Home health providers are encouraged to keep abreast of managed care transitions in their states, advocate on a state level, and to contact the Medicaid Council with any questions or concerns.





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