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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

House and Senate Committees Reach Agreement on SGR Bill

February 7, 2014 08:58 AM

Negotiators from the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees as well as the Senate Finance Committee reached an agreement on a bill to replace the flawed Medicare physician payment formula known as “SGR” – incorporating aspects from the three competing versions. The compromise  agreement does not include any language on extending certain Medicare policies, known as “extenders,” nor on offsets to pay for the legislation. 

Congressional leaders are hoping for congressional action on this bill before the most recent SGR patch - which was approved last month - expires on March 31, but the effort to find offsets promises to be daunting.

Key changes that were incorporated into the final SGR repeal bill include:

  • 0.5 percent increase in physician payments for 5 years before the alternative physician payment models take effect
  • Making the targets in the incentive-based program more clear
  • Allowing podiatrists, optometrists, and chiropractors to participate in the first year of the alternative payment models
  • Provides $40 million in each of 5 years for technical assistance to offices with 15 or fewer professionals
  • Capping of the payment adjustment at 9 percent instead of 12 percent

The compromise SGR bill did not include any offsets to pay for the SGR replacement, though staff from both committees indicated that they will continue to have discussions on offsets and Medicare extenders, including the non-SGR amendments that were accepted during the markup of Senate Finance Committee late last year.

The Senate Finance Committee approved its version of an SGR bill that included two provisions beneficial to the home health and hospice community late last year, but the threat of finding offsets to pay for the SGR fix could jeopardize access to home health and hospice services if negotiators propose home health or hospice payment cuts or copays to pay for the SGR in the bill’s final version.

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

While no offset proposals have yet been formally endorsed by either chamber, the Senate Finance Committee recently compiled a list of possible offsets. Several of the proposals - coming from President Obama’s 2013budget or from the Simpson-Bowles Commission – pose a serious threat to the home health and hospice community.

Specifically, the list of potential offsets includes:

  • A 1.1 percentage point cut in the inflation update over ten years for Medicare post acute providers, including home health providers (President’s budget)
  • A $100 home health copay on episodes not preceded by a hospital or nursing home stay, beginning in 2017 and applied to new Medicare beneficiaries (President’s budget)
  • Combining Medicare Parts A and B and imposing a uniform 20 percent copay on all Medicare services, including home health and hospice (Simpson-Bowles proposal)

The list also includes a post acute care bundling proposal from the President’s budget.  

For more on the above proposals included in President Obama’s budget, please see NAHC ReportApril 16, 2013.

For more on the above proposals included in the Simpson-Bowles Commission Report, please see NAHC ReportFebruary 20, 2013.

To send a message opposing proposals to use home health and hospice payment cuts and copays to pay for the SGR replacement, you may go to the NAHC Legislative Action Network. 

For home health, please click here.

For hospice, pleaseclick here.

The SGR bill will likely be coming to a head in Congress at the time that NAHC’s March on Washington is being held this year and before the current SGR patch is set to expire.

Given the real and looming threat that efforts to offset the cost of the SGR bill could have for the home health and hospice community, NAHC strongly urges all of its members to attend this year’s March and plead the case in person to lawmakers to oppose home health or hospice payment cuts or copayments to pay for the SGR replacement.




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