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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

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

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.

Former President Bill Clinton

ACA Update: More than 100,000 Early Retirees Now Qualify for Medicaid Under ACA Expansion, GAO Says

July 21, 2014 02:53 PM

The following article originally appeared in Modern Healthcare, and was also recently reprinted in Hospice Notes. As it is relevant to both the home care and hospice community, the article - with links to the GAO report – is reprinted below in its entirety:

Obamacare is allowing many Americans to retire early and claim Social Security benefits at age 62 without shouldering exorbitant healthcare costs until they can get Medicare, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (PDF).

About a million early claimers did not have Medicaid or employer-sponsored health insurance before the coverage provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act kicked in this year. Of those, 14 percent may be newly eligible for Medicaid in the 25 states (and the District of Columbia) that expanded the program under the law. Another 58 percent could be eligible for tax credits toward purchasing coverage through the new insurance exchanges. 

But the agency found that 10 percent of these early claimers lived in states that did not expand Medicaid and had incomes that were below the federal poverty level—too low to qualify for exchange subsidies.

Elsewhere, Medicaid promises access to insurance with no premiums and no or nominal cost-sharing, the report notes. Across the 26 states expansion states, the percentage of these early claimers eligible for Medicaid expansion ranges from 17 percent in Delaware and Massachusetts to 60 percent in the District of Columbia.

Experts encourage workers to stay employed until the formal U.S. retirement age of 66 to avoid a reduction in monthly Social Security benefits. But the ability to get healthcare will be crucial for workers who have no choice, according to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. 

“The people helped by this are people who have been forced out a job at age 62 or 63,”said Webster Phillips, a senior legislative representative for the advocacy organization. “Once these people have lost their jobs, it's very difficult for them to find another one.”

Many of them, though, may forgo Medicaid because of the stigma the program holds, particularly among older Americans, said Linda Riddell, health policy analyst at Health Economy, a consulting firm that specializes in health data analysis and employee health costs. 

And experts generally agree that the new low-cost coverage options are unlikely to result in a flood of people checking out of the workforce early. In February, the Congressional Budget Office observed that the law could have a positive impact on the dynamic known as job lock, in which people stay in jobs only because they need the health benefits. 

“Expanded Medicaid eligibility under the ACA will, on balance, reduce incentives to work,” the CBO said in the report (PDF). “(However,) that effect has a relatively modest influence on total labor supply.”

Hospitals already see upside in states that expanded Medicaid. Hospitals in states that chose to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act saw significantly more Medicaid patients and a related reduction in self-pay and charity-care cases, according to a new national study released by the Colorado Hospital Association. For those states that did not expand, the amount of self-pay and charity-care cases remained steady. 

The study used data from 465 hospitals in 30 states from the first quarter of 2014. Data was gathered from Jan. 1 to March 31. The researches estimate a 29 percent increase in Medicaid patient volume and parallel 25 percent and 30 percent drops in self-pay and charity care respectively in expansion states.

“These findings not only affirm that more people are finding healthcare coverage who didn't have it before, but also that it is having a positive impact by reducing the levels of uncompensated care at hospitals, which could further efforts to reduce healthcare costs,” Steven Summer, the association's president and CEO, said in a statement.

Faith leaders admonish states resisting Medicaid expansion.  The 24 states that have yet to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are causing a “moral crisis” by leaving millions of low-income Americans uninsured, faith leaders say, according to the Associated Baptist Press

“History has not been kind to governors who stand in front of schoolhouse doors because the children are not the right kind of children, and history will not be kind to governors who stand in front of hospital doors and clinics because people who are trying to get in are deemed politically dispensable,” Rev. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, said during a conference call with reporters on May 29.

Also participating in the call was Catholic Health Association President and CEO Sister Carol Keehan, a persistent ally of the law. “This is not a simple political agenda like more roads or less roads,” Keehan said. “This is people's lives at stake.”




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