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Testimonials

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. 

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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.

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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

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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 element...it’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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Former President Bill Clinton

NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris Praises ‘Doc Fix’ Passage

Congress passes SGR legislation; President Obama vows to sign it
April 16, 2015 08:54 AM

Late last night, an overwhelming majority of U.S. Senators passed Medicare legislation that reforms the physician payment formula known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR).  With the House having already passed identical legislation last month, the ‘doc fix’ bill now goes to President Barack Obama who has already praised the legislation and vowed to sign it.

 

The Senate passed the bill with 92 senators voting in favor and only 8 senators voting against.  Last month, the House pass the same bill by an overwhelming margin, with 392 members voting in favor, 37 against, and four not voting.

Val J. Halamandaris, President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), praised both houses of Congress for passing the bill.

“The Wicked Witch is dead,” Halamandaris said.  “This bill lifts a black cloud that has been perpetuated over the ill, aged, and disabled for over a decade.  The flawed physician payment formula has been like a game of Russian roulette with a gun at the head of the physicians of America.  I want to thank Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for reaching across the aisle to negotiate this miraculous agreement.  I also want to thank Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid for ushering the compromise through the Senate, as well as President Barack Obama for supporting and agreeing to sign it.  This bill is a good thing for the providers that have financed 17 previous patches through reductions in their payment rates.”

Halamandaris also praised a provision in the bill that extends the Medicare rural add-on for home health agencies, which has been a top priority for NAHC.

“The rural add-on extension is a matter of life and death for our rural areas,” Halamandaris said.  “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 take the pressure off of our rural agencies and improves access to care in our rural areas.”   

The SGR bill would institute a permanent fix in the physician payment methodology, which is important for the Medicare providers because they have regularly financed previous patches by experiencing reductions in their provider payment rates.  While the total cost of the SGR legislation is estimated to be approximately $200 million, the bill only offsets $70 million of that total cost.  Therefore, it is likely that the provider rate cuts contained in the bill’s offsets total much less than the cuts that would have resulted from a series of additional patches.

As previously reported, in order to partly offset the cost of replacing the SGR formula, the bill sets the annual payment rate update for post acute and hospice providers (Market Basket Index) at 1 percent in 2018.  This represents an estimated 1 point reduction from what would have otherwise been the update.  NAHC has argued that the home care and hospice industry has already made enough sacrifices.  NAHC continues to prepare alternatives that could achieve comparable savings, as there may be an opportunity later this year for NAHC to present Congress with alternative reforms to Medicare to replace the rate cuts.

The bill also contains a modification to home health surety bond requirements, setting the bond minimum at $50,000 and allowing Medicare to scale the bond value above $50,000 commensurate with a home health agency’s volume of Medicare revenue.  Under this provision, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has considerable discretion to implement the requirement and set the scaled bond amount for those bonds greater than the minimum of $50,000.  Even without the legislation, CMS had the authority to implement a bond requirement on home health agencies but chose not to do so up to this point. 

NAHC opposed the inclusion of the surety bond provision in the SGR legislation and will continue looking for opportunities to repeal it.  Among NAHC’s arguments against the surety bond requirement include: it would further hurt providers currently struggling to comply with expensive regulations; it would threaten access to care especially in rural areas; it is effectively a tax on the vast majority of providers to cover the cost of a few bad actors; it provides too much discretion to CMS in setting the bond amount and implementing the requirement; any surety bond requirement should be time-limited and targeted to new providers only. Long-standing providers rarely present a risk to Medicare.  The Congressional Budget Office estimated the bond requirement would achieve only $10 million in Medicare savings over 10 years, while costing an estimated $130 million over that same 10 years.  The small estimated savings indicate that virtually all home health agencies fully repay any Medicare overpayments.

Please click here to use NAHC’s Legislative Action Center to urge repeal of the surety bond provision.

 

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