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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

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

Health 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

NAHC Members Urged to Contact their Elected Officials During Ongoing Budget Conference Committee Negotiations and Congressional Efforts to Fix Medicare Physician Payment Formula

November 13, 2013 04:36 PM

A Congressional budget conference committee is currently attempting to negotiate discretionary spending levels for next year, with a deadline of December 13 to report back to Congress.  As part of these discussions, suggestions have been made to substitute some mandatory spending cuts, such as from Medicare and Social Security, for some of the discretionary spending cuts under the sequester.  There is, however, significant opposition to this idea, and continues to be talk of some “grand bargain” of long term mandatory spending cuts. A grand bargain seems unlikely in the current impasse between Republicans vowing not to raise taxes and Democrats vowing not to do any grand bargain without some new revenues. 

Concurrent with these budgetary developments, work continues on fixing the flawed Medicare physician payment formula, known as the sustainable growth rate or SGR.  Estimates for a permanent fix range from $139 billion to $175 billion over ten years.  Finding offsets from Medicare for this level of spending is very daunting - with most betting that Congress will do another one year patch, which is estimated to cost between $20 to $30 billion, depending on how much is spent on extending other policies such as the therapy cap exceptions process. 

Last year nursing homes and hospital payments were cut to help pay for a one-year physician fix -- home health care and hospice were spared.  Congress must take action on the physician fix by year’s end, or shortly thereafter, to prevent a 25 percent cut in physician payments.

As you may recall, the President put forth two proposals that directly affects home health care in his budget proposals:  

1.    A 1.1 percentage point reduction in the inflation update over ten years for post acute providers, including home health care, and; 

2.    A $100 copay on home health episodes not preceded by a hospital or nursing home stay, beginning in 2017 and applying to individuals who become eligible for Medicare in 2017 and beyond.  House Republican leaders drafted legislation that includes these proposals from the President’s proposed budget.  The Congressional Budget Office released its updated budget options for reducing the deficit today, which includes home health and hospice copays as an option.

NAHC has updated its Legislative Action Network (NAHC LAN) to reflect these developments.  Please take a moment to send a message to your Senators and Representative urging them to reject any proposal to use home health or hospice payment cuts and copays as a means to offset the cost of the physician fix, for deficit reduction, or other purposes.

For home health, go here: Write Your Legislators

For hospice, here: Write Your Legislators.   

NAHC’s Legislative and Advocacy team would also like to thank all members who participated in the Annual Meeting’s Lobby Day late last month - both in person and virtually. 

Further developments on these issues will be covered in future editions of NAHC Report.




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