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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 a Summary of Recent Congressional Health IT Activity to its Advisory Board

NAHC affiliate highlights health IT legislation that affects the home health and hospice community
November 17, 2014 11:15 AM

NAHC’s affiliate – the Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA) – recently gave a summary of recent Heath IT legislative activity to its Advisory Board.

Below is HCTAA’s summary of recent Congressional activity – including introduced legislation and hearings – on health IT subjects that could affect the home health and hospice community:

Introduced Legislation

Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2014 (H.R. 5380)

  • Sponsors: Introduced 7/31/14, by Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Peter Welch (D-VT)
  • Endorsements:American Telemedicine Association (ATA); Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)
  • Summary:Per Rep. Thompson’s press release, this proposal would expand specific telehealth services under Medicare in two-year increments over three phases:
    • Phase one expands telehealth services under Medicare for video conferencing and technologies known as store-and-forward which allows clinical information such as videos, data, and x-rays to be stored and then sent to another site for evaluation. This phase expands these services to all federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics and in counties within metropolitan statistical areas with populations less than 50,000. The bill will expand telehealth coverage for certified diabetes educators, speech language therapists, audiologists, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists.  The use of remote-patient monitoring for diabetes, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will also be incorporated in this phase.
    • Phase two expands telehealth services under Medicare coverage for video conferencing and store-and-forward technologies in counties located in metropolitan statistical areas with populations of 50,000-100,000. Video conferencing will also extend to a beneficiary’s home for home health services and agencies, durable medical equipment, home dialysis and hospice. Speech language pathology, audiology, respiratory, occupational and physical therapies will also be covered services under this phase.
    • Phase three expands telehealth services under Medicare for video conferencing and store-and-forward technologies for counties located in metropolitan statistical areas with populations over 100,000.
    • The bill includes the definition of a ‘home telehealth site’ for Medicare and covers telehealth services that are related to the provision of hospice care, home dialysis, home health services, or durable medical equipment.

Telehealth Enhancement Act of 2013 (H.R. 3306/ S.2662)

  • Sponsors: Introduced 10/22/13 in the House by Reps. Gregg Harper (R-MS), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Peter Welch (D-VT); introduced in the Senate 7/24/2014, by Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) in the Senate.
  • Endorsements:American Telemedicine Association (ATA); Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)
  • Summary:This proposal would:
    • Expand telehealth coverage to all critical access and sole community hospitals, regardless of metropolitan status;
    • Cover home-based remote patient monitoring and video conferencing services with the provision of home health services and make payments for such services financially equivalent to the furnishing of a home health visit;
    • The bill also includes the definition of a ‘home telehealth site’ for Medicare and covers telehealth services that are related to the provision of hospice care and home dialysis but does not provide instructions for the assignment of a billing code.
    • Allow state Medicaid programs to set up high-risk pregnancy networks.

ACO Improvement Act of 2014 (H.R. 5558)

  • Sponsors: Introduced 09/18/2014 in the House by Reps. Diane Black (R-TN), and Peter Welch (D-VT); no Senate bill to date.
  • Summary:This proposal would –
    • Add additional incentives emphasizing health outcomes over services performed;
    • Increase collaboration between patients and their doctors;
    • Provide ACOs with additional tools such as telehealth services;
    • Wave the homebound requirement for home health services;
    • Improve care coordination though access to telehealth; and
    • Allow ACOs to provide payments for remote patient monitoring and home-based video conferencing services in connection with the provision of home health services in a manner that is financially equivalent to the furnishing of a home health visit.

Congressional Hearings and Related Activities

Telehealth Roundtable Discussion, Senate Special Committee on Aging

On September 17, the Senate Special Committee on Aging hosted a roundtable discussion on telehealth, “Harnessing the Power of Telehealth: Promises and Challenges." Participants included –

  • Moderated by former Senator John Breaux
  • Marc Hartstein, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Matthew Quinn, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • Andrew Gavil, Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  • Dr. Jack Resnick, Member of American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees and Vice Chair Department of Dermatology University of CA, San Francisco
  • Alice Borrelli, Director of Global Healthcare Policy, Intel Corp
  • Gail Hunt, President and CEO National Alliance of Caregiving
  • Katherine Koehn, Member of American Nurses Association and Executive Director of Minnesota Organization of Regional Nurses
  • Dr. Ralph Sacco , Chair of Neurology University of Miami School of Medicine and former President of American Heart Association
  • Craig Sillillman, Senior Vice President of Public Policy at Verizon
  • Neal Neuberger, Executive Director at Institute for e-Health Policy; was on the Board of ATA
  • Dr. Steve Ommen, Director of Cardiomyopathy at Mayo Clinic

House Energy & Commerce Committee: 21st Century Cures Telemedicine Comment Letter

  • Since May 2014, House Energy & Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) has been soliciting comment letters with feedback and policy ideas on telehealth as part of its 21st Century Cures initiative, aimed at “accelerat[ing] the pace of cures and medical breakthroughs in the United States.” Some of the major letters are summarized below. Chairman Upton has said that he hopes that the Committee will have a legislative package or framework under the initiative completed by the end of the year.
  • Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA) Letter (6/16/2014). HCTAA’s letter on the need for the expanded use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring in the delivery of home health care and hospice included the following recommendations –-
    • The definition of “telemedicine” should include telehomecare and remote patient monitoring; and
    • Eliminate the “originating site” requirement for the reimbursement of telemedicine or include the “home telehealth site” within the definition of originating site.
  • American Telemedicine Association (ATA) Letter (6/16/2014) – ATA's letter encourages the passage of the Telehealth for Medicare Act of 2013 (H.R. 3077), which the group says would increase beneficiaries' access to health care by allowing Medicare providers to practice across state borders without having to obtain an additional license.
    • In the letter, ATA recommends that –
      • Telemedicine services be covered and reimbursed at the same rate as in-person visits; and
      • The subcommittee obtains a budget estimate for TELE-MED Act provisions from the Congressional Budget Office.
    • In addition, ATA expressed its support of the Telehealth Enhancement Act of 2013 (H.R. 3306), noting that the organization would like Medicare accountable care organizations to be granted the ability to use telehealth services without fee-for-services restrictions.
  • Health IT Now Letter (6/16/2014) – Health IT Now's letter also calls for the passage of the TELE-MED Act, specifying that a public-private task force should be convened to further analyze the issue of state licensure as related to medical practices. In addition, the group writes that –
    • A national, common definition and guidelines for telemedicine use should be developed;
    • A timeline should be established by Congress to achieve "semantic interoperability" by 2017; and
    • Congress should provide funding for collaborative interoperability initiatives within the private sector.
  • Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Letter (6/16/2014) – TIA's letter calls for increased investments in telehealth and an update to telehealth licensing policies (Bowman, FierceHealthIT, 6/18). The organization writes that "outdated regulations that have restricted the use of telehealth have long been a hindrance to progress in this space." Further, TIA notes that meaningful use criteria "should adequately account for the full range of products, such as health IT medical remote monitoring," that could further CMS' goals (TIA letter, 6/16). Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
  • Coalition Letter (9/26/2014)– Sent by thirteen healthcare industry associations: HIMSS, American Telemedicine Association, the Continua Health Alliance, ACT/The App Association, the Alliance for Home Dialysis, the RCHN Community Health Foundation, the Telecommunications Industry Association, Christus Health, Qualcomm, Intel, Panasonic, Philips and Baxter International. The letter recommends the following:
    • Authorize the use of telehealth for all accountable care organizations and bundled payments programs;
    • Authorize remote patient monitoring for congestive heart failure (CHF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and, in the case of federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), diabetes, along with flexibility for further expansion for eligible chronic conditions identified by the Secretary based on an annual review of the evidence;
    • Authorize the use of telehealth payments for population health management to include all critical access hospitals and FQHCs; and
    • Facilitate care for Medicare patients by allowing video visits and remote monitoring, such as for home-based kidney dialysis patients.

HCTAA will continue to monitor any and all Congressional health IT activity that pertains to the home care and hospice community.




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