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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

NAHC Action Alert – Dissuade Congress from Using Medicare Dollars to Fund New Trade Bill

April 27, 2015 07:28 AM

On Thursday evening, the House Ways & Means Committee approved legislation that would divert Medicare dollars in order to pay for the reauthorization of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.  As previously reported, the Senate Finance Committee approved the same measure on Wednesday.  The trade legislation includes a 0.25 percent cut to Medicare providers for the last six months of 2024 to offset the cost of the legislation.

Earlier in the week, NAHC and three other organizations—the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Health Care Association—sent a letter [link] to members of the US Senate and House opposing the provision in the TAA bill that would include cuts to Medicare as a pay-for to offset the cost of the legislation. Senior groups, including the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, also criticized the Medicare cuts.

NAHC worked behind the scenes with committee members to advance efforts to replace the Medicare cuts.  Several members of Congress in both the House and the Senate raised concerns about the cuts to Medicare.  Due to those efforts, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) expressed his willingness moving forward to consider more acceptable alternatives to pay for the trade legislation before it becomes law.  

“I understand people have concerns about one of the pay-fors, which is the Medicare sequester. I share those concerns,” Chairman Ryan said. “I’m willing to explore options for replacing it between now and when this gets into law, or when it gets to the floor perhaps. So I’m willing to work with the Minority on that.”

During the House Ways & Means Committee session, several Democrats raised concerns about the Medicare cuts and eventually voted against the overall trade legislation specifically in opposition to the Medicare provision. The Committee approved the trade measure, with 13 Democrats voting in opposition. 

“I think the sequester to start with is a bad policy,” said Committee Ranking Member Sandy Levin (D-MI-9).  “I think it’s a bad precedent to extend it beyond its current expiration. I think it’s also very concerning to use Medicare money to pay for trade.  And I think, finally, we just passed SGR and now what we’re going to do is to essentially ask for some additional monies from providers.”

Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY-14) introduced an amendment that would have replaced the Medicare cuts with a pay-for that would improve tax compliance.  Committee Republicans raised a procedural motion against the amendment, arguing that the proposed pay-for was out of the Committee’s jurisdiction.

“We can’t keep talking about taking from these critical health providers and expect it not to have the negative effects on our seniors and access to care,” said Congressman Crowley.  “If doctors stop practicing, or hospitals or nursing homes are forced to close, or home care agencies have a longer wait list, that hurts our seniors.”

Congressman Crowley also reiterated a concerned expressed by NAHC regarding the precedent of using Medicare funding for non-Medicare legislation.  “We can’t expect our health care providers to be used as a piggy bank for every bill that comes before us,” he said. “If we’re going to tell our doctors and other health care providers that they should constantly be worried about facing cuts to pay not just health care bills but trade bills, or anything else that needs funding, that undermines those very same goals.”

Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI-3) also offered an amendment to remove the Medicare cuts.  Congressman Kind withdrew his amendment with the “assurance” from Chairman Ryan that they would “continue working on an appropriate offset.” Congressman Kind also stated his opinion that it would be difficult for Congress to achieve enough votes to pass the trade legislation with the Medicare cuts included.  “Calling for further Medicare sequester cuts in order to pay for a trade measure just doesn’t fly,” he said. “I think it’s unfair and the policy is wrong.”

Other Democrats expressed similar concerns about Congress diverting funds designated to serve Medicare patients for other purposes.  “It’s not fair and it’s not right to rob the most vulnerable segment of our society,” said Congressman John Lewis (D-GA-5).

During the Senate Finance Committee mark-up of the trade legislation on Wednesday, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) also introduced and then withdrew an amendment that would have replaced the Medicare cuts with a provision that would fund the trade legislation by altering mortgage reporting requirements.  Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) committed to working with Senator Warner moving forward.

“One thing that I think most of us agree on both sides of the aisle is sequestration is stupidity on steroids,” said Senator Warner.  “I think that Medicare sequestration disproportionately hurts our rural hospitals and health centers is unfortunate.”

Currently, the sequester cuts to Medicare are set to expire at the end of the first six months of 2024.  Members of Congress established a 4 percent cut to Medicare providers for the first six months of 2024, in order to average 2 percent for the entire year.  The trade legislation, however, would impose a 0.25 percent cut to Medicare providers for the last six months of 2024, thereby increasing the overall sequester cut to Medicare providers in 2024 above the current 2 percent level included in the Budget Control Act.  According to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, the legislation would increase the sequester cut to Medicare by $700 million.

In the letter to members of Congress, NAHC and the other associations stated that Medicare providers have already made significant sacrifices and raised concerns about the use of Medicare cuts to fund non-Medicare legislation. 

Please use NAHC’s Legislative Action Center to dissuade your members of Congress from using Medicare cuts to fund the trade legislation.




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