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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

Kansas to Launch Health Homes Initiative

July 16, 2014 10:47 AM

Kansas officials plan to launch a Medicaid health homes initiative in the state, with beneficiaries expected to receive services beginning August 1.  Kansas has not yet received formal approval of its proposed state plan amendments to enact the initiative, but local officials expect such approval. If approved, the federal government will pay for 90 percent of the costs in the first two years. KanCare’s three managed care organizations (MCOs) will manage the program. The health homes initiative would represent a merging of both the Affordable Care Act, which calls for the implementation of such health homes, and KanCare, which is Kansas’ recent transition from fee-for-service Medicaid to managed care.

Eligible Population

The population eligible for enrollment in Kansas’ health homes will be limited to those Medicaid enrollees diagnosed with serious mental illness (SMI), estimated at about 36,000 people. Eventually, eligibility will expand to those who have asthma or diabetes, and are at risk of developing another chronic condition; these criteria are expected to expand eligibility by another 38,000 people. Eligible participants will be notified by mail that they will be included in the initiative unless they choose to opt out. Officials predict that 75 percent, or around 55,000, of eligible participants will stay in the health home initiative, while the rest will opt out (and remain in Medicaid).

State plan amendments have been submitted to the federal government for both the SMI and the chronic conditions populations.

Services

Services provided by the health homes include: care coordination and health promotion; comprehensive care management; comprehensive transitional care, including follow-up, from impatient to other settings; patient and family/authorized representative support; referral to community and social support services, when applicable; and use of health information technology to integrate services, where applicable and feasible.

Participating Providers

In its proposed SPA, Kansas requested its health home model take the form of a “team of health professionals” and includes “health home partners” such as home health agencies. Centers for independent living, community developmental disability organizations, community mental health centers, and physician groups have expressed interest in joining the health homes, and are doing so via renegotiating existing contracts with the three KanCare MCOs.

Praise and Skepticism

Kansas officials expect the health homes initiative to reduce costs to the Medicaid program. They previously predicted that the state would save $7 million from reduced medical expenses, and $24 million in general fund expenditures due to federal support, in the first two years.

However, the health home initiative has been delayed, likely effecting those predictions. The whole initiative had originally been slated to launch January 1 of this year. However, sending notices to the expanded asthma and diabetes population has been pushed from this month to at least January 1 of next year due to an inadequate provider network. At the time of this writing, notices to the SMI population were scheduled to be released on July 2 of this year.

Payment Structure

Kansas will pay the MCOs a per member per month (PMPM) rate for each enrollee. The MCOs will in turn negotiate payment rates with the health home providers.  While the latter will likely be a PMPM arrangement, the parties can negotiate alternative payment structures. Such alternative payment structures must be approved by the state. For details, click here

To see more details of Kansas’ health homes, click herehere, and  here. To see a recent Council brief on health homes, click here.

Analysis

While home care agencies are included as possible providers in Kansas’ health homes, the Council has yet to find evidence of home health agencies in Kansas expressing such an interest. Jane Kelly, Executive Director of the Kansas Home Care Association (KHCA), stated “Many of our home health agencies felt there wasn’t much of an incentive for them to apply to be a participating provider.”

States should nonetheless continue to monitor health home developments, especially in the five states where in the states where home care companies explicitly included in the health home design, as is the case currently with Idaho, Iowa, Maine, New York, and Washington State.

 

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