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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

NAHC Strongly Opposes Any Proposal to Use Home Health and Hospice Payment Cuts and Copays to Offset the Cost of Fixing the Flawed Medicare Physician Payment Formula

February 19, 2014 12:54 PM

Congressional leaders are hoping to fix the flawed Medicare physician payment formula - known as the Sustainable Growth Rate or “SGR” - permanently by March 31, when the current three-month patch expires. For more, please see NAHC Report, February 7, 2014. 

If action is not taken by March 31, either by fixing the formula permanently or patching it again, physicians will see their Medicare rates drop by 24 percent.  The cost of permanently fixing the payment formula was once estimated to be $300 billion.  Because of the slowdown in Medicare spending generally, the price tag has dropped to less than half that. 

Congressional leaders are requiring that the cost of the physician fix be offset with spending cuts elsewhere.  In the past, the committees of jurisdiction have insisted that other Medicare providers take cuts in their payments to pay for temporary physician SGR fixes.  Some policymakers have proposed more provider payment cuts and the imposition of more beneficiary cost sharing, including home health and hospice copays, as a means of paying for a permanent physician fix. 

It has been widely reported that the Congressional committees with jurisdiction over Medicare have created a list of potential Medicare cuts to pay for the physician fix that have been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, including proposals from the President’s previous budgets and the Simpson-Bowles Commission. 

Although there was no indication that the committees of jurisdiction have yet endorsed any of these proposals, it is widely assumed that they are under consideration.  The proposals include several that would do great harm to the home health and hospice benefits:

  • 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)

Many in Congress have suggested that Congress use a portion of the savings from the drawdown in military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, known as Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), rather than cutting provider payments or requiring seniors to pay more out of pocket for their Medicare benefits.  Democrats have generally favored this approach and have been joined in calling for the use of OCO funds to pay for the SGR fix by some leading Republicans, including former Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ).  The Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, a coalition of senior groups including NAHC, has favored using OCO savings, rather than Medicare cuts, to offset the cost of the physician fix.

Home health and hospice payments have been cut to the bone already and the imposition of copayments on beneficiaries would seriously impair access to the home health and hospice benefits.  To send a message opposing any 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: Write Your Legislators.

For hospice, please click here: Write Your Legislators.

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 fix.

 

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