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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

Representatives Walden and Schwartz Introduce Bipartisan Legislation that would Allow Nurse Practitioners and Other Skilled Health Care Providers to Order Home Health Services Under Medicare

June 27, 2013 09:07 AM

U.S. Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR) and Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), along with 19 other co-sponsors, introduced bipartisan legislation today to ensure that seniors and disabled citizens have timely access to home health services under Medicare.

The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2013 will allow physician assistants (PA), nurse practitioners (NP), clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives to order home health services for Medicare beneficiaries.

“This common-sense bill will reduce unnecessary and duplicative burdens on health care providers and patients in need of home health services,” Representative Greg Walden said. “Particularly in rural areas like central, southern, and eastern Oregon where physicians are scarce, these clinicians play an increasingly important role in the delivery of primary health care services. Not only are they serving on the front lines of primary care, but also in many areas they are the only option readily available.”

“We have a responsibility to provide America’s seniors with high quality, cost effective health care. A key part of that is ensuring they have timely access to health care services in the privacy, comfort and security of their own homes,” Representative Allyson Y. Schwartz said. “These highly-skilled health care professionals play a central role in the delivery of primary care, particularly in medically underserved areas, and are crucial to coordinating team-based care.”

Currently, Medicare recognizes PAs, NPs, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives as authorized providers who are able to perform many services for Medicare beneficiaries, including ordering nursing home care and prescribing medicine. However, they are not able to order less costly and less intrusive home health care services. Even in states such as Oregon that have explicitly expanded their laws to allow other medical providers to order home care, Medicare will still not certify payment for these services until a physician signs the order.

Those seniors and disabled citizens who see these medical professionals as their primary care providers often need an extra office visit with an unknown physician in order to get the care they need.  In such situations, this impediment merely amounts to extra administrative and paperwork burden, and creates an unnecessary step that fails to recognize current training and scope-of-practice guidelines. As a result, patients in need of home health care services are either placed in more expensive health care settings, or experience a delay in receiving the care they need.  This legislation will relieve that burden for our most vulnerable citizens.

If enacted, this legislation could produce significant savings for Medicare, with one study estimating that the plan would save over $100 million over ten years.

In the rural eastern Oregon town of Enterprise, Theresa Russell serves as the only permanent primary care provider in her clinic, Olive Branch Family Health. As an NP, current law allows her to treat patients in home health settings, but she must wait for a physician’s signature to do so. In rural towns like Enterprise, that wait time can stretch for a week, or sometimes even a month.

This commonsense, bipartisan change in the law would allow NPs like Theresa to make the decision and speed rural health delivery to seniors.

“Under current law, NPs not being able to order home health for Medicare patients results in delay for the patient and interruptions in continuity of care,” Theresa Russell said. “This also leads to increased cost of care when a patient of mine needs to be seen by an additional provider.

“Studies have shown that the expanded use of these professionals can result in dramatic decreases in expensive hospitalizations and nursing home stays,” said Val Halamandaris, President of National Association for Homecare and Hospice. “We appreciate the outstanding leadership [Reps. Walden and Schwartz] have shown in helping make home and community based services more readily available to our nation’s elderly population and those with disabilities.”

This bill is supported by prominent national health care groups, such as the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the American College of Nurse Midwives, and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

For the full text of the bill, please click here. Watch Representative Greg Walden (R-OR) discuss the bill in this video.




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