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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

Alliance on Health Reform Holds Briefing On SGR Alternatives

February 3, 2014 09:34 AM

The Alliance for Health Reform and The Commonwealth Fund recently held a briefing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building entitled, “Beyond the SGR: Alternative Models.” Included in the panel were moderators Ed Howard of the Alliance for Health Reform and Stuart Guterman of The Commonwealth Fund. Presentations were given by Gail Wilensky, Economist and Senior Fellow, Project Hope; David Share, MD, Senior Vice President of Value Partnerships,  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; and Mark McClellan, MD, Senior Fellow and Director, Initiative on Value and Innovation in Health Care, Brookings Institution.

The Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) was created in 1997 as part of the deficit reduction legislation.  Initially, the SGR was  supposed to regulate federal healthcare spending by tying physician payment to an economic growth target. From 1997 to 2001, physicians saw modest pay increases due to the SGR. Starting in 2002 Medicare expenditures began to exceed the targeted growth rate calculated by the SGR and physicians experienced a 4.8 percent pay cut. The current issue, as described by Stuart Guterman, is that reductions were made across-the-board and did not succeed in controlling the growth in spending.  As he stated in his presentation, “It [SGR] does not provide incentives to improve quality, appropriateness, and coordination of care.”

Moderator Ed Howard indicated that the cost of permanently repealing the SGR is currently $116.5 billion over 10 years, which is down from the $316 billion estimate made by the Congressional Budget Office in January 2012. Congress enacted a three-month SGR extender in December 2013 which is projected to cost $8.7 billion.  It is anticipated that SGR legislation will be considered again at the end of March – coinciding with NAHC’s annual March on Washington. There is bipartisan interest in a permanent SGR fix in both the House and the Senate that would allow for increased physician fees as well as greater incentives for quality care, clinical performance improvement, and participation in alternative payment models. The challenge will be to find offsets to pay for the SGR fix.

NAHC strongly opposes any additional Medicare cuts or copayments to pay for SGR reform and encourages all of its members to join in the March on Washington – March 23 – 26 - to plead the home care and hospice community’s case directly to elected officials.

The panelists all emphasized the importance of evidence-based reforms when it comes to proposed alternatives to the current legislation. Dr. David Share, for example, insisted that any reforms must produce lower costs and yield better patient care. Other panelists cautioned that any alternative models intended to replace the SGR legislation should consider the following:

  • Possible sources of funding for physician payment reform
  • Permanent (10-year) or semi permanent (5-year) status for funding
  • Incentives for hospitals and providers to coordinate care plans and increase quality of care

NAHC has been working with legislators in effort to ensure any SGR fix or replacement is beneficial for home health and hospice community, and will continue to fight to ensure that home health and hospice is not targeted for cuts or additional copayments to pay for an SGR fix.

Negotiations are currently underway between the House and the Senate to come up with a final SGR package. While the threat of offsets loom, the Senate Finance Committee’s SGR bill does have several provisions that are beneficial to the home care and hospice community.

For more on the Senate’s SGR bill, please see NAHC Report, December 17, 2013.

For more information on The Alliance for Health Reform’s briefing “Beyond the SGR: Alternative Models,” please click here.  

To register to attend the March on Washington, please click here.




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