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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 Urges Home Care and Hospice Advocates to Take Grassroots Action and Contact Their Members of Congress During the July 4th Recess

Message to Lawmakers should be: "Home Care and Hospice Promotes Independence of America's Elderly and Individuals with Disabilities"
June 27, 2014 09:06 AM

Members of Congress leave for their July 4 recess this Friday, June 27, and will not return to Washington until July 7.  This would be a good time for home care and hospice advocates to be in touch with their Members of Congress back home about home care and hospice issues. 

The message to bring to lawmakers during the July 4 recess is: “While we are celebrating our nation’s independence, let’s take this time to celebrate the role that home care and hospice play in maintaining the independence of our nation’s seniors and those who struggle with disabilities,  keeping them out of the confines of expensive nursing homes and hospitals and  in their homes and communities with friends and family. Let’s oppose putting barriers—such as payment cuts, copays, and unreasonable regulatory burdens like the face-to-face (F2F) physician documentation requirements—in the way of access to home care and hospice. And let’s remove existing barriers to access such as the requirement that only doctors, and not nurse practitioners and physician assistants, can order home health care.”

Actions you may take to deliver this message over the recess include:

A. Visiting with Members of Congress Back Home. Over the congressional July 4th recess many members of Congress will be back in their home districts. You may arrange to visit with them through their local offices. An effective idea is to invite your legislators to accompany representatives of your agency on a home visit as a compelling way to ensure members of Congress are informed about the benefits of home care and hospice. Home care and hospice advocates should attend legislators' public appearances over the recess for a chance to speak up about the importance of home care and hospice issues. Helpful when planning such a contact or visit, many legislators now list their schedules on their websites, or this information can be obtained by calling the member's district office and requesting an itinerary. To obtain contact information for your Members of Congress, go here: Contact Your Elected Officials.  

B. Calling Members of Congress. You can communicate to their staff in local  or Washington, D.C. offices by phone. When calling, ask the receptionist to connect you with the staffer who handles health care issues.

C. Writing Members of Congress. NAHC suggests faxing or emailing letters  to members of Congress to allow the message to get through sooner by avoiding the screening delays that can hamper postal mail delivery. You may easily and effectively email your legislators or obtain their fax numbers using the NAHC  Legislative Action Network (NAHC LAN), which allows users to send either an email prepared by NAHC or compose/adjust the message personally. Using the NAHC LAN is easy! Sending messages takes just a few clicks. Enter the required information and then click the "Edit/Send Emails" button under the "Send Emails" paragraph to the right, and a letter will be generated.

To send emails on a variety of important home care and hospice issues, click NAHC Legislative Action Network.

Letters to the Editor and Op-Ed Pieces. Letters to the editor usually must be written in response to an article that has run in a publication's recent issues, such as a newspaper's issues in a given week. Articles covering Medicare, Medicaid, long term care for frail elderly and disabled Americans, or other health care issues could provide an opportunity for a letter. Even if home care or hospice are not mentioned specifically, a letter to the editor can provide additional information that was not part of the article in discussion.

Op-ed columns are brief opinion pieces typically published opposite the editorial page in newspapers. Typically about 600-800 words long, these columns allow the newspaper's readers to present a particular concept or thought in more depth than is possible with a shorter "letter to the editor." Studying the style of a newspaper's previously published op-eds will help provide a sense of the format and approach most likely to appeal to the editor who selects them for publication.

E. Getting Other Like-Minded Individuals Involved. Community or religious-based groups that represent or serve senior communities (e.g., Catholic Charities,
Meals-on-Wheels, and local AARP chapters) can often be enlisted as advocates for home care and hospice. Try to meet with community groups to explain the issues and how they will affect their clients or members. If a face-to-face meeting is too difficult to arrange, try emailing or holding a conference call.

Give the group background information and support. Talking points, tools, and materials can be found on the NAHC LAN. Urge partner organizations to have their staffs write, call, or email their members of Congress and enlist the communities they serve/represent to do so as well. Keep partner groups "in the loop" by updating them on how lobbying efforts are having an effect.

The following are issues that home care and hospice advocates may wish to raise with their Members of Congress over the recess, along with NAHC LAN links that provide background information, talking points, and sample messages on each issue:

  • Reform the face-to-face physician encounter documentation requirements for home health services -- Write Your Legislators.
  • Suspend and reassess the Medicare home health rebasing rule -- Write Your Legislators.
  • Modify the employer responsibilities in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to address home care specific needs --Write Your Legislators.
  • Oppose home health and hospice payment cuts and copays --  Write Your Legislators(home health); Write Your Legislators (hospice).
  • Preserve the companionship services exemption -- Write Your Legislators.
  • Permit Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants to sign home health plans of care (Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (S.1332;H.R.2504)) -- Write Your Legislators.
  • Offer incentives for the adoption of telehomecare technologies (Fostering independence through Technology Act (S.596)) -- Send a letter to your Senator.
  • Refine hospice face-to-face requirement, require demonstration of hospice payment reform, and increase hospice survey frequency (Hospice Evaluation and Legitimate Payment Act (S.1053;H.R.2302)) -- Write Your Legislators.
  • Define full-time for purposes of the ACA employer mandate as 40 hours a week (S. 1188; H.R.2575; H.R. 2988) -- Write Your Legislators.

For talking points on other priority issues for home care and hospice providers, you may go here--2014 NAHC March on Washington Resources-- and here  --Legislative Priorities.




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