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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

SGR Proposals Move Forward in the House and Senate

SGR Measure Passes in the House that Ties Repeal to a Delay in the ACA’s Individual Mandate; Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden Introduces Legislation that would Repeal the SGR Formula without Requiring Offsets
March 19, 2014 12:07 PM

Late last week – just prior to adjourning for a weeklong recess – the House of Representatives passed a bill that repeals the sustainable growth-rate formula (SGR) and also includes a five-year delay of the financial penalties for people who don't purchase health insurance, known as the “Individual Mandate,” that was included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The measure – officially known as the, “SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act,” passed the House on a vote of 238 – 181. 12 Democrats joined their Republican colleagues in voting for the measure.

Given that the House bill ties repealing the SGR to delaying yet another provision of the ACA, the measure is likely dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate. However, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare, introduced his own SGR repeal bill on March 13, 2014. Chairman Wyden’s bill would repeal the broken SGR formula, though would not tie its repeal to delaying the Individual Mandate. Senator Wyden’s bill    would not require offsets to pay for SGR repeal.

“If Congress fails to fully repeal the flawed Medicare payment formula now, I believe there will be cuts to other providers, hospitals, home health care providers, drug companies, skilled nursing facilities,” Senator Wyden said while introducing his bill on the Senate floor. “We'll be able to accomplish what we were sent here to do - find a way to do what's best for seniors and the doctors who care for them.”

According to Wyden’s office, his SGR repeal bill would:

  • Repeal the SGR and end the annual threat to seniors’ care, while instituting a 0.5 percent payment update for five years.
  • Improve the fee-for-service system by streamlining Medicare’s existing web of quality programs into one value-based performance program. It increases payment accuracy and encourages physicians to adopt proven practices.
  • Incentivize movement to alternative payment models to encourage doctors and providers to focus more on coordination and prevention to improve quality and reduce costs.
  • Make Medicare more transparent by giving patients more access to information and supplying doctors with data they can use to improve care.
  • Extend current law health care and human services policies that ensure affordable Medicare premiums for low- income seniors and guarantee beneficiaries have access to needed therapy services.

Congress returns next week and SGR negotiations are expected to begin in earnest to meet the March 31 deadline, which is when the most recent SGR patch expires. Given that these critical negotiations will be happening at the same time as NAHC’s March on Washington, all NAHC members are encouraged to join their peers and colleagues in Washington, DC to take part in this year’s March and make the case directly to lawmakers to reject any proposals to use home health and hospice payment cuts or copays to offset the cost of the SGR fix.

To learn more about the March on Washington, please click here.




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