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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

House Committee Unveils Draft Bill to Spur Medical Innovation

May 1, 2015 09:04 AM

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday released a discussion draft of the 21st Century Cures legislation, which contains proposals to accelerate medical innovation through the research and development of cures and treatments.  The legislation also contains placeholder sections for not yet included proposals to support innovations with regards to delivery, including interoperability and telehealth. 

On Thursday, following the release of the draft, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to discuss the discussion draft proposals.  The hearing largely focused on medical innovation with regards to the advancement of cures and treatments, as lawmakers are still developing the language on delivery innovation.

During the hearing, members coalesced around the importance of providing more funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The bill provides $10 billion over five years for an NIH Innovation Fund, as well as $1.5 billion in additional funding under the normal appropriation for NIH.  This additional funding is intended to boost the nation’s research efforts.  It also directs NIH to establish a research network devoted to pediatric diseases and birth defects.

In addition to research provisions, the legislation includes proposals to improve the development and coordination of private and public efforts towards new treatments and cures, including antibiotic drugs and vaccines.  With the inclusion of new drug development requirement, some lawmakers argued the legislation should provide additional resources to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to carry out the requirements.  “One specific issue that deserves singling out is the fact that we are asking the FDA to make many changes to their current operation.  We should make sure the agency has the resources to carry out these duties,” said Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO-1).

Several lawmakers noted the panel has significant work head in order to prepare proposals addressing delivery innovations.  “Work continues on several complicated, yet critical issues, including the regulation of diagnostic tests and telemedicine,” said Subcommittee Chairman Joseph R. Pitts (R-PA-16) in his opening statement.  “On telemedicine, I continue to work with my colleagues in the Energy and Commerce Working Group on Telemedicine toward a bipartisan proposal that will encourage the use of telemedicine services to improve health care quality and outcomes, increase patient access, and control costs.  I want to thank the administration and CBO for their input and look forward to our continued collaboration moving forward.”

The full Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI-6) similarly stated there are “important issues to resolve.”

NAHC will carefully monitor the forthcoming 21st Century Cures legislative proposals on telehealth and interoperability and make recommendations to Congress that mirror our legislative priorities.  In its 2015 Legislative Blueprint for Action [link], NAHC provides several recommendations for Congress to ensure the appropriate use of technology in home care.  The recommendations include: 1) establish telehomecare services as distinct benefits within the scope of Medicare and federal Medicaid coverage guided by the concepts embodied in the FITT Act, including all present forms of telehealth services; 2) allow for sufficient flexibility to include emerging technologies; 3) clarify that telehomecare qualifies as a covered service under the Medicare home health services and hospice benefits and provide appropriate reimbursement for technology costs; 4) eliminate the list of authorized originating sites for telehealth services by physicians so that the home residence would be a covered telehealth site; 5) ensure that all health care providers, including HHAs and hospices, have access to appropriate bandwidth so that they can take full advantage of advances in technology appropriate for care of homebound patients; and 5) include telehealth equipment and service delivery as allowable costs in home health and hospice.

For more information about the hearing and the witnesses, please click here




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