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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

House of Representative Leadership Working on Permanent SGR FIX: Home Health and Hospice Impact

March 16, 2015 01:59 PM

Late last week, the leadership of the House of Representatives took significant steps towards a bipartisan bill that would replace the Medicare payment model for physician services, the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), with a payment system focused on value and outcomes. The SGR problem has plagued Congress for years, resulting in multiple “patches” the cost of which has been borne by providers and beneficiaries. The permanent reform package is still very fluid, but it likely will include complete SGR reforms, a series of Medicare payment extenders such as outpatient therapy limits, the so-called PIMA bill on program integrity, and the Medicaid CHIP program extension. The price tag is estimated to be from $200 to $210 billion over a ten year budget.

The most important development in the multi-year attempts to replace SGR is the apparent agreement to offset the cost of the SGR reform with only $70-80 billion in other Medicare program changes. NAHC has learned that the offsets are coming from both beneficiaries and providers of services. On the beneficiary side, the changes would include increased costs for Medicare enrollment through means testing of premiums along with restrictions on first-dollar payment of deductibles and copayments through Medigap policies.

Providers of services would be impacted through reductions in annual rate increases and other measures. Specifically, NAHC  is informed that the 2018 inflation update, the Market Basket Index (MBI), would be set at 1%, the equivalent of a 1 point reduction when considering an estimated 2.5% MBI and a 0.5% Productivity Adjustment. Home health and hospice, along with the other Post-Acute Care providers would share the same rate reduction.

NAHC has strongly communicated that home health care has been disproportionately cut in recent years with rebasing cuts and other rate reductions. MedPAC has recommended that Congress freeze home health and hospice rates in 2016. NAHC has learned that early versions of the proposal had included consideration of a home health copay and deeper rate cuts to PAC providers.

Along with advocacy on the threat of cuts, NAHC has advanced the need for an extension of the rural add-on and relief from the onerous physician face-to-face encounter documentation requirements, both of which are under serious consideration by the House leadership.

Whether a real bill emerges from this action remains to be seen. If it does, the expected schedule would be the release of the bill late this week with a House vote the week of March 23. Senate action would follow. That schedule is intended to meet the looming physician rate cuts that would occur beginning April 1.

The schedule coincides with NAHC’s upcoming March on Washington from March 22-25. The voice of home care and hospice must be heard. Attending the conference and meeting with your congressional delegation is as important as it has ever been. Please let Congress know what is right for home care and hospice.  




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