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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

NAHC Submits Testimony for Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Hearing on Medicare Reform

May 30, 2013 04:31 PM

Last week the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health held a hearing that focused on several different proposals on ways to reform Medicare  – with the key focus being on proposals to modify beneficiary cost-sharing within the Medicare program, including the proposal contained in both the Bowles-Simpson plan as well as President Obama’s budget that would add a home health copay in certain instances.

The hearing, entitled “The President’s and Other Bipartisan Proposals to Reform Medicare” included three witnesses: (1) Joseph Antos, Ph.D., Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy, American Enterprise Institute; (2) Alice Rivlin, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, Brookings; and (3) Joe Baker, President, Medicare Rights Center. NAHC submitted written testimony for the record, as well as provided a set of questions for Members of Congress to ask during the hearing.

The hearing largely focused on the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget proposal to change the structure of Medicare beneficiary cost sharing – with one of the main areas of discussion being the proposal to add a home care copayment for certain episodes of care. For more, please see NAHC Report, April 16, 2013, for additional coverage of the President’s copay proposal.

Other key areas of focus included plans to increase Medicare Parts B (outpatient services) and D (prescription drug benefit) premiums for higher-income beneficiaries and increasing the Medicare Part B deductible. 

Although there was general agreement between both the witnesses and members of the Subcommittee that reforms must be made to Medicare, when such reforms should be implemented and what types of reforms should be pursued was debated. Dr. Rivlin believed that the three proposals in the President’s budget should all be implemented together by 2016, including the President’s copay proposal.

To counter-balance Dr. Rivlin’s support of reintroducing a home health copayment, Joe Baker of the Medicare Rights Center emphasized in his testimony that, “The notion of reintroducing a home health copayment is most alarming because its implications would be most damaging for the most vulnerable: the poorest, the oldest and the sickest. Among home health users, 30% are age 85 or older, compared to 13% among the general Medicare population, and 63% are women.”

In its testimony, NAHC reiterated its opposition to the home health copay, stating that, “Congress eliminated the home health copayment in 1972 for the very reasons is should not be resurrected now…Reinstating the home health copay today would undo the progress made in reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and nursing home stays.” Mr. Baker cited this point as well – both in his written testimony as well as during the hearing.

Both Republicans and Democrats on the Subcommittee championed NAHC’s arguments opposing the home health copayment.  Congressman Tom Price (R-GA), a former physician, stated that, “home health care provides some of the highest-value care for patients…this proposal and others disincentivizes the use [of those services.]”

Jim McDermott (D-WA), the Ranking Minority Member of the subcommittee, indicated that the cost-shifting proposals under consideration were merely an additional tax on beneficiaries, while Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) questioned the witnesses on the topic of how a home health copayment could lead to higher - and not lower - costs to the Medicare system. “I’m worried about the idea that we’ll be cost-shifting [to Medicare beneficiaries],” said Mr. Thompson. “If this copay discourages folks from doing what they should be doing…it could end up costing us a lot more” through increased hospitalizations and more expensive care settings.

NAHC is encouraged that more and more members of the committee that has jurisdiction over Medicare are questioning the wisdom of adding a home health copayment.  Despite more members becoming educated about the true threats and costs that a home health copay will have to the Medicare system as well as its beneficiaries, the idea of a home health copayment is still supported by many on Capitol Hill.

NAHC urges all of its members to contact their elected officials and ask them to oppose the Medicare home health copay.

NAHC also urges all of its members to attend this year’s Annual Meeting and Expositionin Washington, DC, where this message can be conveyed directly to Members of Congress and their staffs by their constituents.




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