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Testimonials

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. 

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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.

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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

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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 element...it’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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Former President Bill Clinton

National Council on Medicaid Home Care Calls for a Summit on the Medicaid Impact of the ACA Employer Mandate and New Overtime Compensation Rules

January 3, 2014 07:58 AM

The National Council on Medicaid Home Care, a NAHC affiliate, has call on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to convene a stakeholder summit to develop reasoned solutions to the challenges facing Medicaid home care under the Affordable Care Act and the recent overtime rule change issued by the Department of Labor.

Beginning January 2015, providers of Medicaid home care services will face the daunting task of complying with two significant changes in the law that could significantly increase care costs. At the same time, state Medicaid programs and their managed care contractors have not shown any willingness to increase payment rates.

The employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act may trigger an employer’s obligation to offer health insurance or face a $2000 penalty for each employee working 30 hours or more per week. A Council survey indicates that an estimated 67% of Medicaid home care providers currently do not offer health insurance to personal care aides.

Additionally, the recent changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act rules by the Department of Labor will require overtime compensation to personal care aides working more than 40 hours weekly. Live-in workers will be affected as well when they are employed by a home care company.

In an effort to find reasonable and workable solutions to these challenges, the Medicaid Council has proposed that CMS convene a “summit” of stakeholders with the design to explore the options and solutions to address these new requirements. The concept has the support of a number of other stakeholders including representatives of persons with disabilities and worker advocates.

A number of states already cope with an overtime compensation requirement. Also, some states are taking new approaches to insuring home care workers, using Medicaid as a foundation. The Council expressed a need to address these issues well before January 2015 as it will be impossible for Medicaid home care providers to continue care since they cannot afford overtime, health insurance, or the penalty obligation without limiting working hours or dropping compensation to minimum wage levels.

Earlier this year, the Council met with the head of the HHS health care reform efforts on this matter. That meeting left a strong impression that HHS wants to find solutions. However, no action has surfaced to date.

The summit would bring in representatives from all stakeholder sectors: consumers, Medicaid state programs, CMS, workers, and agency model providers. It would start with a clean slate in terms of what changes, if any, state Medicaid programs might be needed to maintain access to high quality home care services in light of the overtime rule change and the upcoming ACA responsibilities. The Council recommended that CMS draw in parties from states that already have comparable wage requirements in place, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, along with states that will see the change in 2015. Similarly, the Council explained that states with innovative approaches to worker health insurance would be valuable participants.

The purpose of the gathering would be to develop all the possible (reasonable) options and alternatives available to state Medicaid programs that could lead to maintaining care delivery.  From there, the stakeholders/CMS could develop a tool that states could use to understand these options and implement the one(s) that the states feel fit best for their unique situation. This would not mean any mandate from CMS, just helpful guidance. This approach would put the issue ultimately on each state’s “radar” as an important issue while recognizing that the solution is not a one size fits all.


The Council expressed the belief that the proposed summit would be very useful in exploring all the alternatives to simply raising payment rates to cover any increased cost triggered by these changes. It would also be valuable in bringing together the various stakeholders that have been at odds with each other rather than recognizing that we share common goals. It also is probably the best chance that the President’s goals behind these changes can be achieved. 

The Council has had discussions with some members of Congress about their support for the summit proposal. It is hoped that the summit could take place in early 2014. For further information on the proposal, contact Bill Dombi, Executive Director of the Medicaid Council at wad@nahc.org

 

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