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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 Holds Hearing on the Impact of Medicare Regulations on Rural Health

July 31, 2015 03:06 PM

The House Ways & Means Health Subcommittee convened a hearing on Tuesday, July 28, to discuss the impact of Medicare regulations on the delivery of care in rural areas.

Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) in an opening statement said the impact of Medicare regulation is an “important issue for all of us, but the challenges facing rural beneficiaries and providers are especially evident to those of us who represent districts that aren’t completely urban. Our constituents are seeing firsthand the difficulties caused by overregulation and bureaucracy. And it is our rural neighbors who pay the price when it comes to access.”

As an example, Brady stated that rules preventing physician assistants from serving as hospice attending physicians are particularly problematic in rural areas. “Rules that change the way routine therapeutic services are handled in rural areas or rules that bar physician assistants from providing services, like hospice, disrupt access and the continuity of care for rural beneficiaries.”

“We can do better, we must do better, and we will do better. We should provide relief for all our hospitals and providers from overly burdensome regulations and bureaucracies,” Brady said.

In addition to raising concerns about CMS’ physician supervision requirements, Representative Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) expressed concern about the fact that Medicare’s list of authorized hospice providers “is not as inclusive as it should be and could lead to gaps in access.” Jenkins highlighted her bill, the Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act of 2015 (H.R. 1202), which would allow physician assistants to serve as attending physicians for hospice care. (See previous NAHC Report article on H.R. 1202 here).

When Jenkins asked the witnesses for their opinions on allowing physician assistants to serve as attending physicians for hospice care, Carrie Saia, CEO of Holton Community Hospital in Holton, Kansas, responded: “I think it’s being very futuristic and very supportive of trying to keep the hospice patient in their local community to receive important services at a very critical time, instead of having them leave their local community to receive it elsewhere.”

Another issue Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) highlighted was the importance of promoting telemedicine and telemonitoring. “I’m a big supporter of telemedicine and telemonitoring,” he said. “I think it’s a way we can address a lot of the problems that we face.” Thompson asked the witnesses to provide any policy or legislative changes that can help them “do more or better telehealth.” The witnesses responded in agreement that upfront implementation costs and reimbursement issues are significant barriers to the adoption of telehealth.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice supports changes to Medicare regulations that promote access to care in rural areas. In addition to supporting legislation allowing physician assistants to serve as attending physicians for hospice care, NAHC supports legislation that would allow physician assistants and nurse practitioners to certify home health services (see previous NAHC Report article here). NAHC supports additional measures to improve the delivery of care in rural areas such as the permanent extension of the Medicare rural add-on (see NAHC Report article here). With regards to the adoption of telehealth, NAHC supports providing incentives for home care and hospice providers to adopt telehealth.

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




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