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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 Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Expand Medicare Telehealth Services

July 15, 2015 12:52 PM

Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) this week introduced the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act (H.R. 2948), a bill to expand telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries. Cosponsors of the legislation include Representatives Gregg Harper (R-MS), Diane Black (R-TN), and Peter Welch (D-VT).

Even with recent technological advancements in telehealth, the availability of telehealth services under Medicare is limited under current policy. Only select practitioners are permitted to provide telehealth services, and only in certain rural and metropolitan shortage areas. Furthermore, key technologies including Remote Patient Monitory are not currently covered under telehealth services.

The bill’s sponsor and cosponsors said in a press release their goal is to put telehealth services “on the path toward parity with in-person health care visits.”

“Both patients and providers want telehealth for two simple reasons—it saves money and saves lives,” said Thompson.“Telehealth allows physicians to provide more patients with better healthcare, but while we’ve witnessed much advancement in the field of telemedicine, our policies still lag behind. By passing this commonsense, bipartisan bill we can expand telehealth services and make sure the best care and the best treatments are available to all Americans, no matter where they live.”

Representative Black expressed the importance of loosening government restrictions on telehealth for seniors. “As a nurse for more than 40 years, I strongly believe that we must unshackle the burdensome government restrictions on Medicare that limit use of telemedicine. We all know that advances in technology can help deliver more convenient, cost-effective, and efficient care. But today, Medicare rules prevent most seniors from accessing these needed, revolutionary services. Washington should never stand between seniors and the care that they need to stay well.”

The bipartisan proposal would expand telehealth over three phases. Phase one would expand telehealth services under Medicare for video conferencing and technologies known as store-and-forward which allows clinical information such as videos, data, and x-rays to be stored and then sent to another site for evaluation. This phase expands these services to all federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics and in counties within metropolitan statistical areas with populations less than 50,000. The bill will expand telehealth coverage for certified diabetes educators, speech language therapists, audiologists, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists.  The use of remote-patient monitoring for diabetes, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will also be incorporated in this phase.

Phase two would expand telehealth services under Medicare coverage for video conferencing and store-and-forward technologies in counties with populations of 50,000-100,000. Video conferencing will also extend to a beneficiary’s home for home health services and agencies, durable medical equipment, home dialysis and hospice. Speech language pathology, audiology, respiratory, occupational and physical therapies will also be covered services under this phase.

The third and final phase would expand these services to counties located in metropolitan statistical areas with populations over 100,000.

Representative Harper said these advancements will help address shortages in access to care. “My interest in telehealth began with a single conversation about physician shortages and concerns about patients’ access to quality and affordable health care,” said Harper. “In the years following that first conversation, it has become even more important that we are able to tighten the access gap, and the best alternative is to use technology to connect health professionals with underserved populations—rural and urban—through telehealth networks.”

In addition to highlighting improved access, Representative Welch said the measure would help reduce costs and improve the quality of care. “This bipartisan bill is crucial for the continued expansion of telemedicine, which will significantly improve both access to care and cost-effective delivery of services, resulting in reduced health care costs and improved patient outcomes.”




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