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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

HHS Initiative to Accelerate Interoperability and HIE to Include Home Health Agencies

August 18, 2013 11:06 AM

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced through the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology (HIT) its initiative for accelerating health information exchange (HIE) across a wide spectrum of providers in acute and long-term post-acute care (LTPAC) settings. Home health was included as one of these providers.

ONC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) held a webinar on their “Principles and Strategy for Acceleration Health Information Exchange and Advancing Interoperability” and also released a corresponding paper. The paper outlines CMS/HHS existing policies regarding HIE and also includes feedback from a joint request for information (RFI) issued in March 2013, which received responses from more than 200 stakeholders including ling-term and post-acute care and behavioral health providers.

Among the numerous comments on advancing HIE in the RFI, the following are the most pertinent to home health care providers:

  • HHS could establish methods to support the adoption of interoperable EHRs among providers ineligible for incentive payments
  • CMS could include an adjustment in the fee-for-services payment model for the use of EHRs and HIE
  • HHS could require HIE as a condition of participation in home health
  • The ONC HIT Certification Program could be expanded to include LTPAC and behavioral health setting-specific certification criteria for use in certification
  • HHS could develop an EHR certification program for all health care providers

HHS/CMS announced their plan to leverage available authorities in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) delivery reform programs, and Medicare and Medicaid payment to accelerate interoperability and electronic exchange of health information across the health care system through incremental and deliberate steps.

These program-specific changes to accelerate HIE would be intended to expand patient access to their health information, as well as routine sharing of health information between multiple stakeholders, including home health providers and other community-based providers.  This would also include the development of a voluntary HIT certification program by ONC for LTPAC providers, including home health.

HHS action steps to advance interoperability and HIE include advancing multi-stakeholder development of standards though the S&I Framework and coordination with standards development organizations, encouraging widespread use of HHS-adopted HIT standards through Medicare and Medicaid, and working to align HIT standards and specifications for quality measurement and improvement across Medicare and Medicaid.

CMS action steps included supporting HIT and HIE among LTPAC providers participating in delivery models in testing, such as the State Innovation Model Initiative, using existing Medicaid, CHIP and state plan amendment and waiver process to incorporate HIE into payment policies and move forward with determining potential scope and criteria for LTPAC and behavioral health HIT certification through the HIT Policy Committee.

Home care providers interested in learning more about federal efforts in advancing interoperability and HIE are encouraged to attend session 305 entitled, “Town Hall Meeting on Health IT Interoperability, Standards & Certification,” at the NAHC Annual Meeting on Friday, November 1, 8 – 9:30 a.m.




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