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National Association for Home Care & Hospice
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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

Senate Finance Committee Examines Health Information Technology Progress

July 26, 2013 10:18 AM

The Senate Finance Committee recently held a set of hearings to examine progress made by federal health information technology (IT) initiatives since the passage of the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009.

These hearings were conducted as a follow-up to an April 16 report on health IT released by GOP Senators Thune (SD), Alexander (TN), Roberts (KS), Burr (NC), Coburn (OK) and Enzi (WY). The report, “Reboot: Re-examining the Strategies Needed to Successfully Adopt Health IT,” suggested that a delay in implementation of the meaningful use program may be needed to assess whether it is on the right track.

Health IT: A Building Block to Quality Health Care

On July 17, the Committee held the first hearing in this series, “Health IT: A Building Block to Quality Health Care.” During this session, Committee members heard from the nation’s top health IT experts, Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health IT; and Patrick Conway, Chief Medical Officer and Director, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, and Acting Director, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

During their remarks, Mostashari and Conway highlighted several trends as signs of success. Mostashari pointed to the significant increase in adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) by providers and hospitals across the country, stressing that 40 percent of office-based physicians and 44 percent of hospitals have now adopted a basic EHR. Moreover, Conway emphasized that 190 million prescriptions have been sent electronically since the start of the EHR Incentive Programs.

Despite the progress that has been made, both officials acknowledged that there is still work to be done, citing lagging EHR adoption in small practices and critical access hospitals (CAHs), usability, practice workflow challenges, and the need for greater levels of interoperability across systems as key challenges. However, both Mostashari and Conway stated that Medicare readmission penalty policies and new payment and delivery models (e.g., bundled payments and accountable care organizations (ACOs)) have been effective in creating an emerging business case for information sharing.

When asked by Senator Hatch (R-UT) whether there is a need to delay either the rollout of Stage 2 of the meaningful use program or penalties for those eligible professionals and hospitals who do not meet program requirements within the allotted timeframe, Mostashari stated that such a delay would stall “hard fought” progress.

Health IT: Using It to Improve Care

A week later, on July 24, the Committee heard from a panel of private sector stakeholders during a hearing, “Health IT: Using It to Improve Care.” Witnesses included Janet Marchibroda, Director, Health Innovative Initiative, Bipartisan Policy Center; Dr. John Glaser, Chief Executive Officer, Health Services, Siemens Healthcare; Marty Fattig, Administrator and Chief Executive Officer, Nemaha County Hospital; and Dr. Colin Banas, Chief Medical Information Office and Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University.

In general, all of the panelists expressed support for health IT, acknowledging that it serves as the foundation for many of the new payment and delivery models currently being tested by providers across the country. However, in contrast to the views expressed by Mostashari during the first hearing, several of the witnesses also voiced support for a delay in implementation of Stage 2 meaningful use requirements to give some providers (particularly those in rural areas) additional time to prepare for the advanced requirements. 

In addition, there was general agreement about the need to go beyond implementation to incentivize the use of health IT to improve care. Each of the witnesses stressed that health IT implementation should not be merely a “check the box” activity, but should rather be geared toward making progress on outcomes-based quality measures designed to improve the health of patients and populations. Witnesses also echoed earlier statements by Mostashari and Conway, stressing the urgent need to make progress on interoperability.


New payment and delivery models rely on health IT to produce the right information at the right time. Despite ineligibility for the EHR Incentive Programs, home health and hospice providers should continue to align their IT systems with federal requirements. Careful consideration should be given to ensuring that systems support the seamless transition of care from acute facilities to long-term care and post-acute settings.

For additional information about health IT initiatives, please contact Rich Brennan at




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