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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

NAHC’s President Val J. Halamandaris Praises U.S. House Passage of SGR Reform Bill

March 27, 2015 07:34 AM

An overwhelming majority in the U.S. House of Representatives today passed Medicare legislation that reforms the physician payment formula otherwise known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). The legislation now goes to the Senate, which appears increasingly likely to pass the bill before closing for recess tomorrow.

The House passed the bill with 392 members voting in favor and only 37 against. Four were not voting.

Val J. Halamandaris, President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), praised the House passage of the bill.

“This bill lifts a black cloud that has been perpetuated over the aged, ill, and disabled for over a decade,” Halamandaris said. “The flawed physician payment formula has been like a game of Russian Roulette. The physicians of America had a gun to their head. I want to thank Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi for reaching across the aisle to negotiate this miraculous agreement. It is a good thing for the providers that have financed 17 previous ‘patches’ through reductions in their payment rates.”

Halamandaris also praised the inclusion of the rural add-on, which had been a top priority for NAHC.

“The rural add-on extension is a matter of life and death for our rural areas,” Halamandaris said. “I know the vital meaning of the rural add-on for patients who live in areas with limited access to care. To smell the clear air should not be a death sentence. Our Medicare system should not discriminate against someone based on an accident of birth. The rural add-on helps to prevent that.”   

While the inclusion of the rural add-on is an important victory, the measure also contains some problematic provisions for home care and hospice. As previously reported, the bill sets the annual payment rate update (Market Basket Index) at 1 percent in 2018. This represents an estimated 1 point reduction from what would otherwise be the update.

NAHC continues its efforts to remove the rate reduction. NAHC is prepared to present alternatives that could achieve comparable savings. There also may be an opportunity later this year for NAHC to work with Congress to provide alternative reforms to Medicare to replace the rate cuts.

In addition, the bill contains a modification of the home health surety bond requirements, setting the bond minimum at $50,000 and allowing Medicare to scale the bond value up commensurate with the volume of Medicare revenue in the home health agency.

Halamandaris said NAHC is still working to replace both the payment cuts and the surety bond requirement.

“Our work is not done. While providers would very likely face higher cuts under the current system, we intend to provide Congress with alternative proposals to replace the payment cuts to providers. After three years of rebasing, home care and hospice has made enough sacrifices. We will also continue working to remove the nonsensical surety bond requirement in the bill which would cost $130 million over 10 years while only saving $10 million.”

The overall bill would institute a permanent fix in the physician payment methodology. This is great news for Medicare providers as there have been 17 previous “patches” that were most often financed by cutting provider payment rates. Since the House bill provides only $70 billion in offsets for a $200-plus billion in costs over 10 years, providers’ rate cuts likely total much less than a series of additional patches.

Update: The Senate has adjourned for recess without passing the SGR bill, which means the Senate will not consider the legislation for at least two weeks. Senate leaders plan to take up the legislation soon after the Senate returns from the Congressional spring recess on Monday, April 13. This gives NAHC more time to remove the surety bond provision. Please click here to contact your Senators using the Legislative Action Center to remove the surety bond requirement right away.




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