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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

Home Care Technology Association of America Provides Policy and Legislative Update on Health IT Interoperability

Overarching view is that both Congress and the Administration
November 4, 2014 10:54 AM

NAHC’s affiliate – the Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA) – recently gave a Heath IT legislative and policy update to the HCTAA Advisory Board. There was a particular emphasis on interoperability, as both the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and Congress have been working on the issue.

Below is a summary of recent Congressional activity on the subject of interoperability:

  • A bipartisan group of staff members from the Senate Finance Committee and Senate HELP Committee have been holding regular meetings to discuss Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 3 implementation and interoperability.
  • The House Energy & Commerce Committee has been considering a number of technology-related issues for their 21st Century Cures legislation -  including bills on data blocking, interoperability and telehealth.
  • Rep. Ellmers will likely be pushing to get the Flexibility in Health IT Reporting Act of 2014 or Flex-IT Act (H.R. 5481) included in a broader bill. Her bill would allow a 30-day reporting period for EPs and EHs in 2015, regardless of their attestation year and/or Meaningful Use (MU) stage. A number of industry and provider groups support additional MU flexibility in 2015.

Bottom Line: There is a strong interest in interoperability from both sides of the aisle and in both the House and Senate. However, it does not appear as if a single legislative “solution” has emerged yet. There will be increased attention on interoperability in the near term, as ONC and CMS release documents outlining their roadmap for interoperability and Stage 3 Meaningful Use in the coming months. It is also important to note that any legislation on Interoperability – either as a stand-alone bill or part of a broader package – will not be addressed in either the House or the Senate until after the new Congress is sworn in next year.

There has also been a significant amount of activity surrounding interoperability on the policy side within the Obama Administration and the Executive Branch, with ONC and CMS taking the lead in attempting to find a workable interoperability solution.

Below is a summary of recent Administrative activity on the subject of interoperability

  • ONC released a 10-year vision for to achieve an interoperable health IT infrastructure earlier this year. It is one of the three pongs of a new delivery system transformation initiative led by Karen DeSalvo of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Patrick Conway of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on behalf of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • ONCis working on an interoperability roadmap, which will add more details to the vision paper that was already released.  The roadmap is expected to frame interoperability as a shared responsibility, outlining specific action items that need to be taken by both the government and industry to achieve the vision.
  • The ONC interoperability roadmap was released in draft form on October 15 at a joint meeting of the Health IT Policy and Standards Committee. There is now an opportunity for stakeholder comment, and HCTAA is drafting comments for submission.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)issued a proposed rule on Medicare’s Home Health Agency Conditions of Participation that included revisions to the Outcomes and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) requirements to update applicable electronic data transmissions to meet current federal standards, incorporates a new requirement for each HHA to develop, implement, and maintain an agency-wide, data-driven quality assessment and performance improvement (QAPI) program and a recommendation for EHR technology developers to certify their EHRs to the transitions of care certification criteria module to enable HHAs to electronically exchange health information with health care providers in other health care settings.
  • Federal activities have been undertaken to update the Consolidated CDA Templates (CCDA). For example, the Standards and Interoperability Framework, Longitudinal Coordination of Care (S&I LCC) Working Group has worked to address gaps in the CCDA to better support the interoperable exchange of documents and content needed at times of transitions in care and referrals in care, and for the exchange of care plans, including the home health plan of care.
  • The updates to the CCDA were balloted by HL7 in the spring of 2013, and comments have been reconciled. HL7 is expected to publish the CCDA® Release 2 (CCDAr2) sometime in the fall of 2014.
  • The ONC 2015 Edition proposed rule proposes an updated version for the CCDA, the CCDAr2. The CCDAr2 includes enhancements to more completely support interoperability for documents needed at times of transitions and referral in care and care plans, including the home health plan of care. The CCDAr2 also includes new sections for: Goals; Health Concerns; Health Status Evaluation/Outcomes; Mental Status; Nutrition; Physical Findings of Skin; and many other entries.
  • Another key question is related to the definition of interoperability. ONC has publicly stated that it is adopting the IEEEdefinition of interoperability. A number of folks have tried to reopen whether this is the right definition in various forums (Health IT Policy Committee, etc.)

Bottom Line: Much more is now known about the Administration’s vision for interoperability since the October 15 release of the ONC Interoperability Roadmap. HCTAA staff is currently analyzing the document, and will share any pertinent sections and/or findings with the NAHC Board as well as NAHC members in future NAHC Report articles.




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