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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

MedPAC Issues its Report to Congress

Recommendations include a per episode home health copayment, elimination of market basket updates and program integrity measures for home health services; elimination of the update of hospice payment rates and changes to the Medicare payment syst
March 21, 2014 08:47 AM

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recently issued its annual Report to Congress, which it is required to do by law. The report makes recommendations on payment policies for traditional fee-for-service Medicare (Parts A and B), as well as Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) and prescription drug plans (Part D).

Below are the key recommendations for home care and hospice services that were included in MedPAC’s report:

Home Health Agencies

  • The Congress should direct the Secretary to reduce payments to home health agencies with relatively high risk-adjusted rates of hospital readmission.
  • The Secretary, with the Office of the Inspector General, should conduct medical review activities in counties that have aberrant home health utilization. The Secretary should implement the new authorities to suspend payment and the enrollment of new providers if they indicate significant fraud. (First recommended in March 2011).
  • The Congress should direct the Secretary to begin a two-year rebasing of home health rates in 2013 and eliminate the market basket update for 2012. (First recommended in March 2011).
  • The Secretary should revise the home health case-mix system to rely on patient characteristics to set payment for therapy and nontherapy services and should no longer use the number of therapy visits as a payment factor. (First recommended in March 2011).
  • The Congress should direct the Secretary to establish a per episode copay for home health episodes that are not preceded by hospitalization or post-acute care use. (First recommended in March 2011).

Hospice

  • The Congress should include the Medicare hospice benefit in the Medicare Advantage benefits package beginning in 2016
  • The Congress should eliminate the update to the hospice payment rates for fiscal year 2015.

MedPAC also reprinted its previous recommendations related to hospice payment reform and oversight:

  • The Congress should direct the Secretary to change the Medicare payment system for hospice to:
    • Have relatively higher payments per day at the beginning of the episode and relatively lower payments per day as the length of the episode increases,
    • Include a relatively higher payment for the costs associated with patient death at the end of the episode, and
    • Implement the payment system changes in 2013, with a brief transitional period.

These payment system changes should be implemented in a budget neutral manner in the first year. (First recommended in March 2009).

Given that MedPAC has once again recommended additional copayments and payment cuts for vital home care and hospice services, NAHC is encouraging all its members to attend this year’s March on Washington – March 23 – 26 – to please the home care and hospice community’s case directly to lawmakers.

For more on MedPAC’s recent recommendations, please see NAHC Report from January 21, 2014; another article from January 21, 2014; January 29, 2014.

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

To review MedPAC’s Report to Congress Fact Sheet, please click here.

 

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