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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

Congressman Jim Gerlach Reiterates his Support for Home Care at Town Hall Meeting Hosted by NAHC Chairman Andrea L. Devoti

Supports Authorizing Nurse Practitioners to Write Medicare Orders for Home Health, Opposes Any More Home Health Cuts, Calls forReform of the ACA Employer Mandate, and Blasts CMS’s New “Rebasing” Rules
August 20, 2013 08:46 AM
Standing (l to r): Eric Kiehl, Heidi Owen, Andrea Devoti,Jim Gerlach. Seated (l to r): Gina Petersen and Vivian Fielder

Congressman Jim Gerlach (R-PA) thinks “it’s time for real solutions” as we strive to improve health care for all. He supports legislation that will help more employers provide their workers with health insurance and give morepeople access to affordable care. He also supports a plan that keeps the promises we’ve made to America’s seniors and those nearing their retirement years. “It’s a plan,” he says, “to preserve and strengthen Medicare so that all seniors have access to quality affordable health care.”It would give seniors more options, and it does not include more cuts to home health care, as he recently told NAHC Chairmen Andrea L. Devoti when she convened a town hall meeting at Neighborhood Health, her agency in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Devoti brought the congressman together with numerous Pennsylvania home care providers for a wide-ranging discussion of issues affecting home health and hospice. Among those participating were Eric Kiehl, public affairs director at Pennsylvania Homecare Association and several staff members of Neighborhood Health: Heidi Owen, director of hospice/oncology services; Gina Petersen, chief information officer; Pat Bush, director of home care services; and Vivian Fielder, director of customer service/intake.

They all came away impressed with the congressman’s devotion to their industry and to the patients they serve. “Congressman Gerlach was not only attentive and supportive,” Devoti says, “but also knowledgeable about the challenges we face.”

The issue that concerned him most was a possible rebasing of the Medicare prospective payment systemcalled for under the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Since the law was passed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed a rule cutting home health reimbursement by a total of 14 percent over the next four years.

This equals another $25 billion in cuts on top of the $77 billion that Medicare home health has been cut since 2009. If approved the rule would lead most agencies to have negative margins, and it has been a bad idea from the start, Gerlach contended. “I don’t understand,” he said, “why someone going two years back would consider rebasing as an answer to the problems Medicare faces.”

Gerlach has seen in his own state the challenge involved in caring for our aging population. Pennsylvania confronts severe budget shortfalls in coming years and providing quality services to the state’s growing number of seniors is a major source of the state’s fiscal dilemma. Pennsylvania faces a record-breaking increasein the population of those 65 and older, a demographic shift that requires the stateto rework the way it cares forthe aged so spending is controlled, efficiency is enhanced, and servicesreflect seniors’ wish to remain at home.

The congressman has witnessed first hand how home care can help them reach this goal. Two years ago, Rep. Gerlach went on a home care visit with Ms. Devoti - as CARING Magazine reported in the cover story of its July 2011 edition. The visit strengthened his avid, long-time support of home care and hospice. So he is now working in Congress to pass bills that will let home care and hospice do even more for their patients and staff.

He wants to help agencies comply with the employer mandate by making it easier for them to give theirworkers health insurance coverage. He’s also wants to revise the face-to- face requirement, whichrequires a doctor to see a patient before certifying them for home health. Someone who has been in a hospital shouldn’t need to have a face-to-face encounter, he told Devoti and her colleagues.

He also talked about the value of letting nurse practitioners order home health care for their patients. At present Medicare law doesn’t allow nurse practitioners to sign home health plans of care or certify Medicare patients for the home health benefit. These prohibitions delay health care delivery - especially in places with few physicians - so having nurse practitioners sign orders will facilitate care for patients, as the congressman understands. He strongly supports the Home Health Planning Improvement Act (H.R. 2504) giving nurse practitioners the ability to certify patients for the home care services they need. Yet he doesn’t believe the bill could get signed on its own. Perhaps it might be better, he suggested, to tack it onto a bill for a permanent “doc fix,” a matter that Congress will focus on after its August break.

But Gerlach doubted that Congress would actually come up with a permanent fix since they would choose instead to keep the federal budget at its current rate. The costs of erasing cuts to physicians once and for all is in the neighborhood of $208 billion - a hefty sum that would have to come out of other programs like hospitals and home care. Rather than making these changes, Congress would probably go back to a one-year fix of $18 to $20 billion, Gerlach predicted.

He was also optimistic that Congress would get something done about the issues that concern home health care. Many members of Congress support home care, he told Devoti and her colleagues. He counted himself in their ranks, and he was proud of having signed Congressional letters that opposed rebasing and the face-to-face requirement, along with one allowing nurse practitioners to order home health. He said he supported NAHC’s efforts because he had seen the value of letting patients receive quality care without leaving home. “Giving patients and their doctors a broader range of treatment options, such as home health services, is critical to improving our nation’s health care delivery system.”




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