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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

AARP’s Public Policy Institute Releases Report on Medicare Beneficiaries’ Out-of-Pocket Expenses

January 13, 2014 03:39 PM

The AARP recently released a report entitled, “Medicare Beneficiaries’ Out-of-Pocket Spending for Health Care.” The report found that Medicare beneficiaries spent a median of $3,324 a year of their own money on health care in 2010. Addiotionally, more than five million Americans spent more than $8,000 a year on out-of-pocket expenses. The burden of out-of-pocket expenses was found to be greatest for the sickest and oldest beneficiaries.

These findings support NAHC’s long-held argument that additional cuts to Medicare and the inclusion of additional copayments – such as for home health episodes of care for beneficies – would limit access and hurt the poorest and sickest Americans.

AARP’s analysis found that:

“Medicare beneficiaries spent a median of $3,324 a year of their own money on health care in 2010. Ten percent of beneficiaries—almost 5 million people—spent more than $8,030. Half of all Medicare beneficiaries spent at least 16.4 percent of their income on health care. The burden of health care costs was particularly heavy for the sickest and oldest beneficiaries as well as for near-poor beneficiaries…

Policy makers should be cognizant of these high OOP burdens when considering changes to improve the Medicare program.”

The AARP’s findings are similar to the arguments NAHC has consistently made opposing additional out-of-pocket spending for Medicare beneificiaries. With respect to home care in particular, NAHC has long-argued that the imposition of a home health copayment would essentially be a “sick tax” on the most vunlnerable Americans.

In its Legislative Priorities document, NAHC states that:

  • Copayments are an inefficient and regressive “sick tax” that would fall most heavily on the most vulnerable—the oldest, sickest, and poorest Medicare beneficiaries.  About 86 percent of home health users are age 65 or older, 63 percent 75 or older, and nearly 30 percent 85 or older. Sixty-three percent are women. Home health users are poorer on average than the Medicare population as a whole. Home health users have more limitations in one or more activities of daily living than beneficiaries in general. The Commonwealth Fund cautioned that “cost-sharing proposals, such as a copayment on Medicare home health services, could leave vulnerable beneficiaries at risk and place an inordinate burden on those who already face very high out-of-pocket costs.”
  • Most people with Medicare cannot afford to pay more.  In 2010, half of Medicare beneficiaries—about 25 million seniors and people with disabilities—lived on incomes below $22,000, just under 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Medicare households already spend on average 15 percent of their income on health care costs, three times as much as the non-Medicare population.

To read the full AARP report, please click here.

To read NAHC’s full home health copayment issue brief, please click here.

NAHC urges all of its members to attend this year’s March on Washington March 23 – 26 to further make the case opposing additional Medicare payment cuts or copayments directly to lawmakers.  




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