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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

Forum of State Associations Letter Expresses Support for Advance Care Planning Services

Conveys Support for CMS Proposal to Activate Advance Care Planning Codes in CY2016
August 18, 2015 08:50 AM

The Forum of State Associations (Forum) is an affiliated organization of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC). It is comprised of state home health, home care, and hospice associations from across the nation. A total of 41 member associations of the Forum sent a letter dated Tuesday, August 11, to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that conveyed support for CMS’ plans to activate the Advance Care Planning codes in calendar year (CY) 2016 as indicated in the proposed physician payment rule. In July 2015, CMS released proposed changes to the Medicare physician fee schedule for CY2016, including payment to physicians for advance care planning sessions (see previous NAHC Report article here). NAHC had previously joined with other organizations in urging CMS to include coverage of such planning in the 2016 physician payment rule. In July, following CMS’ announcement of the proposed rule, NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris called the inclusion of advance care planning services, “a vital step toward improving quality of care and ensuring patient involvement and self-determination in the health care decision-making process.”

The Forum letter—addressed to CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt—applauded CMS’ proposed action and leadership in the effort to include advance care planning services as part of the Medicare benefit. “The Forum is appreciative of the opportunity to express support for [CMS’] proposal to classify CPT codes 99497 and 99498 as “active” codes and to permit separate payment for them under the Medicare physician fee schedule,” the Forum stated in the letter.

The Forum explained the importance of expanding opportunities for home care and hospice patients to discuss their health care conditions, treatment options, and personal preferences. “In the fields of home care and hospice, the vast majority of patients served by our member agencies are senior citizens and persons with disabilities, many of whom have multiple chronic health conditions or are approaching the end of life. Based on the collective experience of home care and hospice professionals, there is significant need to expand existing opportunities for individuals to discuss their health care conditions, the range of treatment options, and their care goals to ensure that as the need for care arises it will be provided according to the individual’s personal preferences,” the Forum stated. “We believe that these opportunities should be available (at the beneficiary’s discretion) in conjunction with the annual wellness visit, as well as on an ongoing basis, as care preferences may change over time and with changing health status. Finally, to ensure that sufficient time and attention will be given to these important discussions, we support separate payment based on the time spent in provision of these advance care planning services.”

The full letter from the Forum is available here.

In related news, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives—Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Phil Roe, MD (R-TN)—also recently sent a letter to CMS expressing support for the inclusion of advance care planning services in the proposed rule. “Conversations about care at the end of life are critical to establishing and documenting patient values, goals, and preferences,” the lawmakers said in their letter. “We strongly support Medicare reimbursement for advance care planning services and urge CMS to make separate payment available for these services in CY 2016, as included in the recent proposed physician fee schedule.” The full letter from the Representatives is available here.




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