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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

NAHC Signs Onto Congressional Letter Outlining Aims to Protect Medicare Beneficiaries During SGR Negotiations

Senior Groups Join in Opposing Home Health and Hospice Copays
March 3, 2014 09:10 AM

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) joined with two dozen other prominent aging and beneficiary advocacy groups in sending a letter to leaders in both the House and Senate outlining their aims for a successful reform to the flawed Medicare physician payment formula, known as the “sustainable growth rate” or SGR, currently being debated in Congress.

The letter states that the signatories “hope [congressional negotiators] will continue to make progress toward a Medicare physician payment policy that will stabilize payments and improve incentives for greater quality and efficiency. Nonetheless, we remain deeply concerned about issues critical to the well-being of people with Medicare that your committees have yet to collectively address.”

Specifically, the letter outlines goals that all signatories agree must shape the SGR negotiations, while detailing their rationale.

Those goals include:

Protect people with Medicare from higher health care costs

“A legislative proposal to repeal and replace the SGR must not be paid for by shifting added health care costs to people with Medicare. Proposals such as further income-relating Medicare Part B and Part D premiums, prohibiting or taxing comprehensive Medigap coverage, adding a home health copayment, increasing brand name copayments for Extra Help enrollees, or otherwise redistributing the burden of Medicare cost sharing through increased deductibles, coinsurances or copayments should not be adopted as offsets to pay for a permanent SGR solution…

Congress must not make Medicare unaffordable for beneficiaries, jeopardize access to needed care, or worsen the already tenuous economic circumstances facing most people with Medicare. National polling consistently demonstrates that most Americans oppose reducing Medicare spending to reduce the deficit. For instance, in a March 2013 CBS News Poll, 80% of respondents opposed cutting Medicare. We anticipate that cuts to Medicare benefits would be similarly unpopular in the context of physician payment reform.”

Make the Qualified Individual (QI) program permanent

“We are very concerned that a permanent SGR solution could significantly diminish the prospects for continued bipartisan agreements on the extension of the QI benefit.

The QI program is essential to the financial stability of people with Medicare living on fixed incomes. The QI benefit pays Medicare Part B premiums, amounting to $104.90 per month, for individuals with incomes between 120% to 135% of the federal poverty level (FPL)—about $13,800 to $15,500 per year—and less than $7,080 in assets. In 2011, 520,000 older adults and people with disabilities were enrolled in the QI program.1 According to a recent analysis, Medicare beneficiaries with incomes between 101% and 150% FPL spend more than one quarter (26.1%) of their income on out-of-pocket health care costs, more than any other income group.2 This stark reality makes the QI benefit that much more important.

In December, the Senate Finance Committee voted on a SGR reform package that only extended the QI program through 2018. We believe this represents a grave error, and we urge you to make the QI program permanent.”

The letter also outlines several ways to pay for the SGR fix that would not fall on Medicare beneficiaries. The letter suggests that Congress utilize unspent Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds and adopt proposals to ensure that the Medicare program and beneficiaries are receiving the best possible price for prescription drugs, including restoring Medicare drug rebates for low-income beneficiaries.

SGR negotiations will be coming to a head at the end of March – coinciding with NAHC’s March on Washington. All NAHC members and supporters are encouraged to join with their peers and colleagues at this year’s March on Washington.

To read the full letter, please click here.

For more information on the March on Washington, please click here.




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