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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

MedPAC Discusses Policy Principles for Potential Expansion of Telehealth in Medicare

March 8, 2016 10:35 AM

On March 3, 2016, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) convened a session entitled, “Telehealth Services and the Medicare Program.” During the session, the Commissioners discussed the current utilization and efficacy of telehealth services, as well as policy principles to guide the potential expansion of telealth coverage under Medicare. MedPAC previously met to discuss this topic in November 2015; MedPAC has updated its research determining that “evidence of the efficacy of telehealth is mixed.” Its June 2016 report will contain a chapter with policy principles pertaining to telehealth, rather than official recommendations. However, several Commissions urged that MedPAC was being overly cautious in its approach.

The session began with MedPAC staff providing an overview of telehealth utilization and efficacy. They described telehealth as a multidimensional set of services, with Medicare’s coverage of telehealth under the Physician Fee Schedule limited to rural locations and specific services. MedPAC concluded that the use of telehealth was very low within Medicare but that it has been growing recently. MedPAC described that some employers and insurers were using telehealth outside of Medicare, and that the Department of Veterans Affairs uses telehealth more widely. Finally, MedPAC concluded that the ability of telealth to expand access, improve quality and reduce cost was mixed.

MedPAC staff provided examples of potential policy principles to guide the expansion of telehealth in Medicare for the purposes of discussion during the session. Such potential policy principles included: in the context of fee for service expanding coverage to services that provide access to timely care with a low potential for unnecessary use (e.g. tele-stroke) and allowing primary care providers to offer more telehealth services under PMPM partial capitation model; in the context of bundled payment models and ACOs, expanding coverage of telehealth if providers are at risk for total spending for episode or population; and in the context of Medicare Advantage, expanding to allow plans to include supplemental telehealth services in their bids.

Commissioner Craig Samittexpressed concerns that CMS and MedPAC were both moving “too cautiously” toward fostering telehealth adoption. He said that telehealth can suppress cost drivers in the health care system, such as inpatient admissions, which in turn ensures that the benefit of telehealth coverage strongly outweighs the incremental cost of service coverage expansion.

Echoing those concerns was Commissioner Scott Armstrong. “I worry that we are being far too conservative. Even the tone of this conversation is far more cautious about this,” Mr. Armstrong said. “I think the technology and patient expectations are moving far faster than our payment policy is right now.”

Additional information about the MedPAC presentation is available here.




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