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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

Washington Update: Delivering Policy Messages to Congress During March on Washington

March 23, 2015 05:32 PM

The the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) 2015 March on Washington Conference comes at a critical time for advocates to deliver their message to Congress about the importance of home care and hospice, a panel of policy experts said to conference attendees on Sunday. Providers already face new regulations that could challenge their ability to provide high-quality, cost-effective care. In addition, this will be an action-packed week in the U.S. Congress on health care issues.  The House of Representatives has scheduled a vote this Thursday on legislation to permanently fix the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR).  Furthermore, both chambers of Congress will consider their respective budget resolutions, with proposed changes to entitlements and the health care system.  The SGR bill and the budget resolutions may serve as legislative vehicles to address some of NAHC’s most pressing issues.
Former U.S. Senator Mark Begich, who recently joined NAHC as Vice President for Policy and Business Development, highlighted the importance of advocacy during the March on Washington. Begich said the March on Washington comes at an “exciting time” and called it an opportunity “to deliver a message to Washington, Senators, and Congressmen, of how important home care and hospice is, and why everything you do every day makes a difference in peoples’ lives.” Sometimes, Begich said, members of Congress “lose touch” with the importance of home care and hospice.  “That’s why you’re here. Make sure they hear the message, and deliver to them the importance of home care and hospice in their communities and why they need to do the right thing.”
Colin Roskey, Esq., Alston & Bird, LLP, and Counsel to NAHC, said bipartisan movement on the SGR bill could finally provide a solution, which has long eluded Congress.  The habit of Congress passing an annual patch, Roseky said, rather than a long-term solution has been “a cycle of health care violence” and “unfair” to many stakeholders.
As NAHC previously reported, the SGR bill as currently negotiated will cost roughly $200 billion but it will only offset $70-80 billion of the total cost.  NAHC has learned that the offsets would affect both beneficiaries and providers. For beneficiaries, the changes would include increased costs for Medicare enrollment through means testing of premiums, restrictions on first-dollar payment of deductibles, and copayments through Medigap policies. Providers of services would be impacted through a reduction in the annual rate increase, among other possibilities. For the 2018 inflation update, the Market Basket Index (MBI), would be set at 1% - the equivalent of a 1 point reduction based on an estimated 2.5% MBI and a 0.5% Productivity Adjustment. Home health, hospice, and other Post-Acute Care providers would share the same rate reduction.
Roskey said, when meeting with members of Congress, advocates should emphasize that NAHC members have already made significant sacrifices, with a third year of rebasing and expiration of the rural add-on at the end of this year.
William A. Dombi, Esq., Vice President for Law, said NAHC is working to “mitigate” the impact of the cuts from the offsets, because providers can’t afford more cuts after rebasing. Dombi said, based on the current plan, Post-Acute Care providers plus hospice will take a $15 billion cut; hospitals will also take a $15 billion cut.
“The 1-point basket update translates into $3.4 billion in cuts over a 10-year period of time, “ Dombia said. “And they’re permanent. They keep growing and growing. And on the hospice side, well over $2 billion of impact on payments to hospices.”
With home health agencies going through two more years of rebasing after 2015, Dombi said they “can’t afford any more cuts.” As a result, Dombi said NAHC’s first priority is to address the potential cuts by either removing them or at least moving them to a later date.
“If we can’t get it removed, we’ve been trying to move it to 2020,” Dombi said. “If we can’t get it to 2020, what we’re trying to do is phase it in – a little bit each year starting in 2018. Originally, just so you understand this part, they wanted to cut us starting in 2016. So they have already moved a bit in that regard.”
NAHC’s second priority with the SGR legislation is trying to include a 2-year extension of the Medicare Home Health Rural Add-on, which is set to expire at the end of this year. Dombi said the Rural Add-on extension is on the “possibility list” of provisions to add. Dombi encouraged NAHC members to raise this issue with their members of Congress.
The final issue NAHC is working on for possible inclusion in the SGR bill is a legislative solution to the face-to-face encounter rule.
The panel said advocates should also encourage members of Congress to address home care and hospice priorities as part of the Budget Resolution. Even though the policy proposals in the budget proposal do not have the force of law, amendments to the budget resolution are a good opportunity to message on key issues.
Other issues the panel encouraged advocates to raise with Congress include:
·      Cosponsor the Nurse Practitioner bill
·      Make a statement on the Congressional Record, or using social media, in support of home care and hospice
·      Oppose the imposition of a surety bond on home health agencies as a pay-for
You can access all of the legislative campaigns at NAHC’s Legislative Action Network.
NAHC also encourages those unable to attend the March on Washing to reach out to their members of Congress regarding these issues through NAHC’s Legisaltive Action Network.




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