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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

Senators Send Letter to CMS Opposing Case Mix Cuts and Value-Based Purchasing Penalties

September 28, 2015 09:06 AM

Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), sent a letter on Thursday, September 24, to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that urges CMS to withdraw their proposed case mix cuts and unsustainable value-based purchasing penalties. In addition to sending its own comments to CMS opposing these proposals, NAHC enlisted Congressional support in order to convince CMS to back off the rate cuts and revise the Value-Based Purchasing proposal.

The Senate effort follows a similar letter announced earlier this week signed by 133 members of the U.S. House of Representatives (see previous NAHC Report article here). The four bipartisan Senators who signed the letter each hold important positions in the U.S. Senate. Collins is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aging; Roberts, Schumer, and Stabenow all serve on the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid; and Schumer is the leading candidate to become the next Senate Democratic Leader when Senator Harry Reid steps down next year.

“NAHC would like to express its gratitude to Senators Collins, Stabenow, Roberts and Schumer,for signing this letter in support of home health services for Medicare beneficiaries,” said Val J. Halamandaris. “Like the House letter sent last week, this letter sends a strong message that CMS should withdraw their proposed case mix cuts and unsustainable value-based purchasing penalties. These additional payment modifications would be devastating for home health agencies, particularly small and rural providers, and would endanger Medicare patients’ ability to receive the care they need in their homes. The support from these Senators helps NAHC and its members deliver the message to CMS that they should withdraw or modify these additional proposed punitive cuts.” 

In June, CMS issued the Home Health Prospective Payment System (HHPPS) proposed rule for 2016.  Two concerning elements of the rule are the 1.72 percent "case mix" cut in 2016 and again in 2017, and the application of a 5-8% range in penalties and incentive payments for the proposed Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) pilot program. The draft HHPPS rule's proposed case-mix cut and the impact of the HHVBP pilot could exacerbate the weakened fiscal environment in which home health providers are already working, impacting the care upon which some of the most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries depend.

The letter from the Senators urges CMS to “reconsider these two provisions in the proposed rule” in order to “ensure that the millions of Americans who rely on home health services maintain access to these critical services.”

CMS must consider the NAHC comments and Congressional comments along with any others submitted in developing the final rule. That final rule is expected to be released in late October or early November as it must be issued at least 60 days prior to its January 1, 2016, effective date.

A copy of the letter from the Senators is available here.  




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