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National Association for Home Care & Hospice
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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

HHS Secretary Burwell Testifies before the Senate Finance Committee

Secretary Burwell called before powerful committee to explain her Department’s component of the President’s recently-submitted budget
February 6, 2015 08:21 AM

Earlier this week, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Mathews Burwell was called before the powerful Senate Finance Committee to explain the rationale behind her Department’s budget proposal for FY2016, which was just over $1 trillion. This was Secretary Burwell’s first appearance before the Committee since being confirmed as HHS Secretary.  

In his opening remarks, Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT), the Committee’s Chairman, urged Secretary Burwell to focus on three areas: responsiveness, accountability, and independence. On the final area, independence, Chairman Hatch indicated that he was concerned that there was too much interference from HHS in managing the Department’s entitlement programs. To that end, Chairman Hatch announced that he would introduce legislation making the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) an independent agency, stating that:

“For some time now, I have been concerned about the amount of influence HHS and the administration has over the operations and policies impacting the entitlement programs run by CMS. The budget released this week indicates that spending on just Medicare and Medicaid is expected to exceed $11 trillion over the next decade. In fact, CMS accounts for 85 percent of the total HHS budget.

These are astonishing numbers. They also reinforce for me something that I have long believed: It is time to start talking about making CMS an independent agency apart from HHS…I intend to introduce legislation to move CMS out of HHS.”

Chairman Hatch then mentioned several areas of agreement between Secretary Burwell’s Departmental budget and his own priorities – particularly among initiatives for the care of foster children.

Senator Ron Wyden, the Committee’s Ranking Member, focused on the need to migrate Medicare from a fee-for-service model to one that focuses on accountable care with an emphasis on chronic care management. In his opening statement, Senator Wyden said:

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, and a lot has taken place since they were first created. Congress came together to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, and has reauthorized it three times. Congress has improved and expanded Medicare and Medicaid…

Thanks to five decades of progress, health care in America is no longer reserved for the healthy and the wealthy. The job, however, is not done. Our budget must reflect a twofold commitment: first, to protect the progress that’s already been made, and second, to clear the way for progress to continue in the future.

For Medicare, that means guaranteeing that the program’s benefits fully meet the needs of this era’s seniors. The demands on the program are different than they were 50 years ago. The big-ticket Medicare costs of 2015 are no longer things like kidney stones and broken ankles. They’re chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s that are tougher and more costly to treat.

The HHS budget begins to acknowledge that reality, and bigger investments in research on chronic conditions are a positive step. But treating chronic disease is Medicare’s future.

What’s needed is a roadmap to efficient and effective care that moves away from fee-for-service. Patients and providers told this committee last summer about the need to address chronic care in a different way. There is bipartisan support for that in Congress.”

Secretary Burwell, in her opening statement, mentioned her Department’s home care and hospice initiatives, saying that, “The Budget includes common-sense reforms that help to protect older Americans from identity theft, while supporting family caregivers and expanding options for home and community-based services and supports.” There was no mention of the Administration’s controversial proposals to implement further cuts to Medicare home health payments or supporting a home health copayment.

The majority of the hearing focused on certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act  contained within HHS’ budget - with many senators offering their support or criticism of the law based on their political party affiliation.

While it is unlikely that the HHS budget will be approved as is by Congress, it does offer a starting point for discussions on the size and scope of the Department for the coming year. As Congress considers and debates President Obama’s 2016 budget, it is important for NAHC members to contact their elected officials urging them to oppose home health payment cuts as well as the implementation of a “sick tax” in the form of a home health copayment.

Please click here to contact your elected officials on these important topics.

To read more about the President’s 2016 budget, please see NAHC Report, February 5, 2015.




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