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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 Holds Teleconference to Share Latest Congressional Developments with the Home Care & Hospice Community

December 17, 2013 09:39 AM

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) held a teleconference on Friday, December 13, to share recent congressional developments with the wider home care and hospice community. Val J. Halamandaris, President of NAHC, hosted the call. He was joined by Jeff Kincheloe, NAHC’s Vice President for Government Affairs; Bill Dombi, NAHC’s Vice President for Law; Richard Brennan, NAHC’s Vice President for Technology Policy and Government Affairs, and; Theresa Forster, NAHCS’s Vice President for Hospice Policy and Programs.

The teleconference served as an opportunity for NAHC staff to provide updates on a number of developments that occurred during ongoing legislative negotiations in Congress – many of which occurred after NAHC’s March on the Capitol earlier in the week. Specifically, the teleconference focused on the recently-reached budget agreement between Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Patty Murray (D-WA) which passed the House earlier this week and will likely clear the Senate soon.

Other developments surround SGR legislation – or the “doc fix” – which saw action in both the House and the Senate. A three month delay in the scheduled 24 percent cut in Medicare physician payments was included in the budget deal. Congress intends to address a permanent fix to the flawed Medicare physician payment formula during the first three months of next year.

On the Senate side, the Senate Finance Committee held what NAHC’s Vice President for Hospice Policy and Programs Theresa Forster called, “an old-fashioned mark-up where members were able to bring up amendments” for inclusion in the permanent “doc fix” bill. Several of the amendments were very favorable for the home care and hospice community.

Below are the details on all of the developments that were discussed during the teleconference.


“We did get an agreement that many people thought was impossible… to fund the Federal Budget,” said NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris. “Most people believe that this signals a return to a more normal, cooperative process. The really significant thing is that both sides – Democrats and Republicans – got what they wanted out of this.” Specifically, Democrats were able to preserve Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid without any significant changes or modifications to any of those entitlement programs, while the Republicans were successful in preventing any new tax increases from being included.

Of greatest interest to the home health and hospice community is the fact that there were no new Medicare or Medicaid payment cuts and no home health or hospice copays,though the two percent Medicare sequestration cut remains in effect. However, the the two percent cut is not cumulative and will simply get readjusted each year. The two percent sequester cut was extended two years - from 2021 to 2023.  In 2023 the sequester cut would be 2.9 percent for the first six months of the year and 1.1 percent for the last six months.  This was done to extend more savings into the 10 year window for purposes of CBO scoring.

NAHC’s Vice President for Law, Bill Dombi stated that, “we’re assuming that [Congress] will pass the budget before going out for Christmas.” The House has already passed the budget and the Senate is scheduled to begin debate on it this week.

SGR Amendments


The Fostering Independence Through Technology (FITT) Act has been a major priority of both NAHC and its affiliated Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA) for some time. The legislation would expand the use of telehealth under Medicare by offering incentives to home health agencies who demonstrate the use of remote monitoring and communication technologies that serve rural and underserved urban communities.

During the Senate Finance Committee mark-up, Senator Thune (R-SD), the bill’s original sponsor, was able to insert the text of the legislation into the SGR bill as an amendment, which was passed by a voice vote.

The inclusion of the FITT Act is another positive development for the home care and hospice community. “We’ve been working on this piece of legislation for five years,” said HCTAA’s Executive Director Richard Brennan. “Then all of a sudden, with a voice vote, it has the potential to move towards becoming law.”

Mr. Halamandaris added of Senator Thune, “Mr. Thune is smart and intelligent and certainly cares a lot about home health providers – especially in his rural state.”


The Senate Finance Committee held an extensive mark-up of the SGR – or “doc fix” legislation where several key amendments for the home care and hospice community were considered and accepted. One such amendment of particular interest to hospices was introduced by Senators Carper (D-DE) and Enzi (R-WY) that would allow physician assistants to serve as attending physicians for hospice patients. Said Mr. Halamandaris during the teleconference, “Our proposal for hospice was included in the SGR fix, and we’re celebrating that, too.”

Nurse Practitioners

Although it did not come up for a vote in the Senate Finance Committee markup, by offering it as amendment Senator Schumer (D-NY) did signal that one of his top priorities in the New Year will be to see another NAHC-supported piece of legislation become law. The legislation, the “Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act," was introduced earlier in the year by Senators Schumer and Collins (R-ME) and would allow nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives, and physicians' assistants to certify Medicare home health plans of care.

During the teleconference, Jeff Kincheloe, NAHC’s Vice President of Government Affairs, stated the importance of Senator Schumer making this a priority, stating that it is, “really good news for us. We now have 13 Senators and 88 House members. One of the things the sponsors have asked for is to keep up the pressure to get more cosponsors onto this bill.”


The rebasing issue was also discussed during the teleconference. And while NAHC and its allies were unable to stop the rebasing rule from going into effect, the home care and hospice community is well-positioned to see either a rollback or repeal of the detrimental rule in the early part of the New Year.

“We were half an inch away to getting a rebasing amendment included…But this puts us in a very good position for our January efforts,” said Mr. Dombi of the push to repeal the rebasing rule either in the budget or SGR legislation.

Added Mr. Halamandaris, “It has been a full court press and we are very well positioned in January if we continue to work together...[the rebasing rule] is nothing less than an effort to dismantle the home health benefit.”

While NAHC staff remains optimistic about seeing the rebasing rule overturned in January, there is still work to be done. “As Members of Congress go back into their home states, it’s a perfect opportunity to reconnect with them and keep the fire burning on this issue,” said Mr. Dombi. “When you have the Speaker of the House on your side, and the Senate Majority Leader and Senator Bob Dole on your side, we can make this happen, but you’ve got to keep the fires burning.”

Aside from the myriad of positive legislative updates that NAHC shared during the teleconference, the point was repeatedly emphasized that there is more to be done, and meeting with elected officials during their Christmas recess is the perfect opportunity to do so.

NAHC encourages all of its members to share resources on opposing the rebasing rule and additional Medicare cuts and copayments that are available on NAHC’s Legislative Action Network website with their elected officials during the recess.

“When you have advocates at the top of both parties supporting you,” said NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris as the teleconference was concluding. “They don’t agree on much, but they do agree on the importance of home health. It doesn’t hurt that we are fighting on the side of angels. That’s why we fight so passionately and why we have more success than most people generally do.”

To listen to the teleconference in its entirety, as well as access previous NAHC teleconferences, please click here.





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