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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

What the 2014 Midterm Elections Mean for Home Care & Hospice

November 9, 2014 09:16 AM

While partisans are either celebrating or lamenting the outcome of the recent Midterm elections – the GOP expanded its majority in the House by 13 additional seats and reclaimed control of the Senate by picking up at least seven seats – home care and hospice advocates can look at the makeup of the new Congress with optimism in the fact that access to home care and hospice is neither an ideological nor partisan issue, but one that is supported by members of both parties in both chambers of Congress.

Some of home care and hospice’s biggest champions will be at the helm of powerful committees that drive the nation’s agenda when the 114th Congress convenes. The challenge NAHC will face is working with these champions while fending off any proposals that would reduce Medicare to a voucher system, cut the federal contribution to Medicaid, or call for more payment cuts and copayments for home care and hospice.

NAHC congratulates all the new members of the House and Senate, and looks forward to working with the new Congressional leadership. With several Senate races still too close to call, this is what is known about the makeup of the new Congress:


The GOP picked up at least seven seats, and the majority, in the Senate. The race in Alaska is still too close to call, and the race in Louisiana is going to a runoff next month. While it is clear that the Republicans will control the Senate, the size of their majority is still in question. Since committee assignments are divided up proportionately between the parties, the ratio of seats between Democrats and Republicans is unknown at this point.

What is known is that the powerful Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid issues, will most likely be chaired by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) when the 114th Congress convenes next January. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the current Chairman, will become its Ranking Member.  NAHC’s positive and productive history with both Senator Hatch and Senator Wyden should allow for a continuing dialogue between home care and hospice advocates amongst both Democrats and Republicans on the Committee.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) will most likely chair another committee of interest to the home care and hospice community, the Special Committee on Aging, when the new Congress begins. Senator Collins has been one of the home care and hospice community’s strongest Senate allies over the years, and from her new position, she can be an even more forceful voice for some of NAHC’s key issues – including allowing nurses to write home health plans of care, extend the home health rural add on payment, and modifying the ACA to designate a “full time employee” as someone that works 40 hours a week for the purposes of the ACA employer mandate. Senator Collins currently holds the record for the most consecutive appearances at NAHC’s annual March on Washington with 14. NAHC believes that there couldn’t be a better champion of the nation’s elderly to take the helm at the Committee on Aging.

Republicans have stated that current Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will become the new Majority Leader. Senator McConnell has been a strong supporter of home care and hospice in the past – having spoken to NAHC members at past conferences and in drafting a scathing letter on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) flawed rebasing rule. NAHC looks forward to continue its very constructive and positive working relationship with Senator McConnell in his new role as Majority Leader. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who has supported NAHC in its fight to preserve the companionship exemption, is slated to take over the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Another home care champion, Steve Daines (R-MT), who introduced a bill to delay implementation of the ACA employer mandate for Medicaid and Medicare providers, won his election to the Senate, where it is expected that he will continue to fight for relief. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), who has spoken at NAHC’s March on Washington, won the closest reelection of his Senate career. Many attribute Senator Roberts’ success, in part, to the last minute efforts by home care and hospice allies Jerry Moran (R-KS), who is the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and former Senator Bob Dole (R-KS), who has served as NAHC’s champion for many years.


On the House side of Congress, Republicans added to their majority, meaning that there will not be a switch between the parties for power, but expanded committee assignments and a broader governing majority for the GOP. The entire House was up for reelection, and some of NAHC’s biggest House champions – such as Greg Walden (R-OR), Tom Price (R-GA), Walter Jones (R-NC), John Lewis (D-GA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), and Jim Langevin (D-RI) – were reelected. Langevin has led the fight on the House side to preserve the companionship exemption. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is all but certain to retain his post. Speaker Boehner has worked with NAHC on several key issues in the past.

One of the most important Committees in the House – Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over Medicare – will either be chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) or Kevin Brady (R-TX). Most observers are saying that Paul Ryan will most likely chair Ways and Means in the coming Congress. NAHC has shared its concerns over home health and hospice payment cuts and copayments with Rep. Ryan in the past.

Rep. Brady, who will likely continue to chair the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, has held several hearings during his tenure on issues that affect the home care and hospice community, and has supported NAHC on some of its key policy positions.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Joe Pitts (R-PA) will continue to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee and its Subcommittee on Health respectively.  With jurisdiction over Medicaid and Medicare, each has been supportive of home care and hospice.  The ranking minority member of the Subcommittee on Health, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), a big champion of home care and hospice, is expected to vie for the ranking minority open position on the full committee. 


NAHC welcomes the return of many of its champions on both sides of the aisle, and looks forward to building relationships with the newly elected Representatives and Senators of the 114th Congress. Before the new Congress convenes, the 113th Congress will meet one more time for a “lame duck” session beginning Wednesday November 12. It is likely to be a short session to fund the government past the December 11 deadline, either through a continuing resolution or an omnibus spending bill, before being gaveled out.

There has been talk of possible action by Congress on some other issues during the lame duck—such as changing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) definition of full time from 30 hours a week to 40 hours, delaying implementation of the ACA employer mandate, and replacing the flawed Medicare physician payment formula (SGR).  Stay tuned to NAHC Report for more on developments during the lame duck session.

As the new Congress gets acclimated to life in Washington, NAHC urges all of its members to continue to highlight the issues of importance to the providers and recipients of home care and hospice services.




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