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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

Plan to Join Lobby Day Activities at NAHC’s Annual Meeting

October 8, 2013 10:16 AM

There is a lot of uncertainty these days coming out of Washington between the current government shutdown to the potential of an even more devastating government default looming on the horizon. Despite the stalemate, NAHC wants to remind its home care and hospice advocates that, regardless of what the operational status of the government is later this month, Lobby Day - being held Thursday, October 31 - will  be a vital and integral part of NAHC’s Annual Meeting & Exposition held October 31 – November 3.

It is important for home care and hospice advocates to, as Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has said, "tell your Senators [and Representatives] about the compassionate care you provide and the budgetary problems you face.”

The home care and hospice community must continue to be involved and present a unified message on pressing issues even as lawmakers continue to be at loggerheads over efforts to reduce the nation’s deficit and offset the cost of fixing the flawed Medicare physician payment formula - known as the “physician fix”. For previous coverage of the physician fix, see NAHC Report, January 3, 2013. 

There is, indeed, no better way for home care and hospice advocates to make a difference and affect the outcome of legislation that will have an impact on their industry than meeting directly, with lawmakers, elected officials and their staffs regardless of the myriad of other issues Congress must address. 

With Lobby Day moving forward, below are some details about getting to and from Capitol Hill from the Gaylord National Resort during this year’s Annual Meeting.

  • Buses will run from the Gaylord National Resort to the Frederick Douglass Museum on Capitol Hill at 8:00am.
  • A continental breakfast will be served at the Frederick Douglass Museum at 8:30am.
  • Maps to the House and Senate offices will be available, as well as NAHC Staff who will be able to show attendees how to get to the appropriate office building.
  • Lobby Day handouts – such as NAHC-authored white papers, one-page summaries of NAHC’s positions on key legislation, and other leave-behinds will be available at the Frederick Douglass Museum.
  • Busses will leave from the Frederick Douglass Museum and return to the Gaylord Resort at 10:45 am, 12:45 PM, and 2:45 PM.

As a reminder, the first Educational Sessions of the day start at 11:30am. Buses are scheduled to get participants back to the Annual Meeting in time to attend the Educational Sessions for those who wish to do so.

It is important that home care and hospice advocates discuss what is at stake for their community and the care that they provide with elected officials and their staffs during NAHC’s Lobby Day – particularly the calls to add additional copayments or further cut the Medicare home health benefit.

Copays and payment cuts have been proposed as a means of deficit reduction and offsetting the cost of the “physician fix”

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (2010) (the “Bowles-Simpson plan”) recommended a uniform 20 percent copay for all Medicare services.  This would amount to a $600 copay to access an episode of home health care. The chairs of the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees, which have jurisdiction over Medicare, have recently expressed support for this proposal.  The Congressional Budget Office put forth a 10 percent home health copay as one of its budget options for deficit reduction.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has recommended a home health copay (as much as $150 per episode) for episodes not preceded by a hospital or nursing home stay. The President’s budget included a proposed $100 home health copay for episodes not preceded by a hospital or nursing home stay, beginning in 2017 for newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries.  The President’s budget also proposed a 1.1 percentage point cut in the inflation updates for all post acute providers, including home health.  CMS has issued a proposed rebasing rule that, if not stopped or modified, will cut home health payments by 14 percent over four years.

Hospice patients and providers could also suffer significantly under some deficit reduction proposals. Medicare hospice spending per beneficiary averages approximately $11,500 annually; the uniform 20 percent copay proposal, if applied to hospice, could impose an average copay of about $2,300 annually per patient.

Additionally, existing regulatory and legislative payment reductions guarantee that, at best, hospices will experience flat payments for the foreseeable future. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is working to reform the hospice payment system. Hospice providers need stability and predictability so that they can continue to make this vital service available to terminally ill Medicare patients.

Lobby Day participants are encouraged to also raise other home health and hospice-related issues and seek support for legislation such as the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (S.1332/H.R.2504), which would allow nurse practitioners to sign home health plans of care; the Fostering Independence Through Technology (FITT) Act (S.596), which would provide incentives for the adoption of telehomecare; and the Hospice Evaluation and Legitimate Payment (HELP) Act (S.1053/H.R.2302), which would refine the hospice face to face requirement, require a demonstration of hospice payment reform, and increase hospice survey frequency.

If you have not already done so, please register for the NAHC Annual Meeting and join with your home care and hospice colleagues in lobbying Congress at this critical time. 

You may obtain more information about the Annual Meeting and register here.




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