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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

US Senate Passes Legislation Extending Demonstration Project on Chronic Care Management

April 28, 2015 10:15 AM

The US Senate last week passed by voice vote legislation that would provide for the continuation of a physician-based chronic care management demonstration program established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The Medicare Independence at Home Medical Practice Demonstration Improvement Act of 2015 extends for two years a demonstration project known as Independence at Home (IAH).  The model focuses on certain high risk categories of chronic care patients, using a reimbursement method that shares the Medicare spending savings between Medicare and providers.

The legislation was sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), with cosponsors Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

“We are delighted to commend Senator Wyden and Senator Markey, along with Senator Bennet, Senator Burr, and Senator Isakson, for their advocacy for legislation that helps keep people at home,” said Val J. Halamandaris, President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice.

Senator Markey said this legislation will “help save money” and “increase the peace of mind” of senior patients.  “The Independence at Home program is moving quality health care from emergency rooms to living rooms for our most vulnerable seniors,” said Senator Markey.  “This pilot program extension will allow teams of doctors and nurses to continue to care for severely ill Medicare patients in the home, bringing the house calls of yesteryear into the 21st century.”

Senator Wyden has similarly described the legislation as both a cost-savings measure and one that will improve health outcomes for seniors.  “With Independence at Home, we have an opportunity to both improve the health outcomes for thousands of Medicare beneficiaries and to dramatically reduce the cost of treating these most expensive patients at the same time,” said Senator Wydensaid about the program in 2012.  “Congressman Markey and I have worked for years to see home-based healthcare brought to the Medicare system but we still have work to do.”

The US House has not yet considered the legislation.  The bill has been referred to the House Ways & Means Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee. 

NAHC agrees that chronic illness requires different services and supports than are currently covered under the traditional acute care benefit structure of Medicare.  The current system does not adequately provide coverage for supportive, preventative, and care management services for the chronically ill.  This results in costly hospitalizations, emergent care, and exacerbations of underlying illness.

While NAHC is supportive of the legislation and IAH, NAHC is advocating for an expanded focus on chronic care management with a broader population than IAH addresses.  NAHC recommends that Congress monitor Medicare demonstration programs and pilot projects to ensure the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services complies with Congress’s mandates and recommendations. 

NAHC further argues that, based on the outcomes of the various demonstration projects and pilot programs, Congress should establish a separate care management benefit under Medicare for certain chronically ill, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, diabetic, and certain neurological disorder-afflicted patients.  In order to ensure a discipline-integrated, community care-based approach to care management, the service should be provided by professional nurses and others within home health agencies, under the guidance and supervision of the patient’s attending physician as a member of the care team.  The services should include: 1) An interdisciplinary team approach to care management that includes physicians, nurses, therapists, medical social workers, and pharmacists; 2) Evidence-based care plan development; 3) Direct patient care services in the home setting; 4) The application of telehealth services for appropriate remote monitoring as needed by the individual patient; 5) Care counseling, care coordination, medication management, and oversight of services related to activities of daily living; 6) The use of interoperable electronic health care records and efficient electronic-based communication tools; 7) Patient education and support; and 8) Integration and support of informal caregivers such as family members.

This care management benefit could help prevent the complications and costs under the existing Medicare benefit structure, which encourages individuals to wait until their condition deteriorates before addressing them.  Home health agencies that possess the skill and experience to manage chronically ill individuals in the community are already available to provide a chronic care management delivery system.

NAHC will continue to provide updates regarding further action on S. 971, as well as other efforts to improve chronic care management.

 

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