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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

Senate Committee Holds Roundtable on Health Care Challenges for Small Businesses

July 9, 2015 11:15 AM

The US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions held a roundtable on Tuesday, July 7, to discuss the health care challenges and opportunities facing small businesses. Witnesses provided testimony at the hearing expressing concerns about the employer mandate, insufficient tax credits for health insurance, and the likelihood of higher premiums resulting from the planned expansion in 2016 of the small group market to employers with 100 employees or less.

“Small businesses have traditionally had some of the least competitive, most expensive health insurance options out there,” said Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), in setting the stage for the discussion. “Yet so many small business owners still view it as a priority to assist their employees in purchasing health insurance… There are a lot of changes that would improve things and meet a short-term need, but we also need to think past the next plan year. We should try to ask the question of what this market should look like in the future and what do we need to do to get there.”

The panel of witnesses included health policy experts and small business owners. The Committee asked the panel to address the following questions in their testimony: 1) What is the current status of the health insurance market for small businesses, specifically plan options and costs in the small group market? 2) What tools and options are available and useful for small employers to offer some assistance to their employees? 3) What has worked, what hasn’t worked, and what policy recommendations do you have for the Committee? 

Multiple witnesses expressed concerns that the planned expansion of the small group market to employers with 51-100 employees would result in higher premiums.

“My colleagues and I are very concerned about the planned expansion of the small group market in 2016 to employers with 100 employees or less,” said Thomas Harte, President of Landmarke Benefits in Hampstead, New Hampshire. “We anticipate this expansion will result in clients of 51-100 employees receiving significant premium increases in 2016. Furthermore, these clients will not be able to keep the plan or the plan options they have today and, in some cases, their current health plan may not serve the small group market. They will also have to adapt their plans to the ‘metal plan’ design options, which means that their covered services may changes and be forced to either reduce benefit offerings or increase them to meet the actuarial values tied to the metal plans.”

These concerns were supported by an Oliver Wyman analysis distributed at the hearing which found that “[r]oughly two-thirds (64%) of members in groups with 51-100 employees would receive a premium increase in 2016 as a result of changes in rating rules and expanding the market, with these groups receiving an 18% increase on average.”

As a result, the witnesses recommended delaying the planned expansions of the small group market to employers with 51-100 employees. Additional witness recommendations included changes to the employer mandate and expanded tax credits for employers.

In its 2015 Legislative Blueprint, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice recommends Congress increased tax credit support for health insurance and modifying the definition of a “small employer” to allow expanded eligibility for the credits. Further, NAHC recommends a standard benefit package that includes home care and hospice. Home health agencies, home care companies, and hospices have limited access to affordable health insurance for their employees.

NAHC additionally recommends that Congress amend the Affordable Care Act to exempt home care providers from the employer responsibilities, change the definition of full-time to 40 hours a week, or repeal the mandate altogether.

For more information about the roundtable, the witnesses and their testimony, please click here.




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