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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 Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Discusses Restructuring Medicare

Weighs Proposals to Combine Medicare Deductibles, Restructure Copays and Limit Medigap Insurance
March 17, 2016 11:30 AM

On March 16, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Health Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “Preserving and Strengthening Medicare.” During the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12) and others indicated potential support for a number of proposals to restructure Medicare cost sharing, including combining deductibles under Part A and Part B of Medicare, restructuring copays, and limiting Medigap insurance.

Chairman Tiberi called for “long overdue reforms to the outdated Medicare benefit” such as those put forward bythe National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (“Bowles-Simpson”), which recommended a uniform 20 percent copay for all Medicare services including home health and hospice. He said such reforms would result in “largely stable copayments.” Chairman Tiberi also called for “combining the deductibles under Part A and Part B of Medicare.”

The hearing included discussion about limiting Medigap insurance, and Chairman Tiberi noted that all of the witnesses appeared to support such a proposal. The witnesses includedKatherine Baicker, who is a professor at Harvard School of Public Health and serves on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission; Stuart Guterman, a senior scholar at AcademyHealth; and Robert E. Moffit, a Senior Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

The use of uniform cost sharing may have surface appeal, but it can act as a barrier to care that is less costly and clinically better than care in other settings. Over the years, Congress intentionally excluded home health services from cost sharing and allowed only very limited hospice cost sharing because it wanted to encourage the use of these services as better alternatives than costly institutional care or curative care at the end-of-life.

In its Legislative Blueprint for Action, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) stated that Congress should preserve the principle operative in Medicare that encourages the use of cost effective care alternatives such as home health services and hospice care in any restructuring of Medicare. Any proposals to revise the current cost sharing approaches through combined deductibles and copayments (or their equivalents) should be rejected. Cost sharing standards should incentivize high value services such as home health and hospice. Medicare beneficiaries should be able to purchase supplemental insurance to cover co-pays and deductibles without any limitation.

Along these lines, during the hearing Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-6) expressed support for providing high value services at low or no cost to incentivize the use of such services, encourage high quality care, and “save dollars down the line.”

Members and witnesses also expressed support for improving chronic care, providing increased telehealth to people in their homes and in rural areas, and allowing people to receive the care they need in their communities in order to keep them out of hospitals.

The Subcommittee’s focus on restructuring Medicare is yet another example of why it is so important for home care and hospice advocates to attend this year’s March on Washington Conference. You will have the opportunity to meet with Congress regarding specific issues, such as rejecting efforts to impose a copay on Medicare home health or additional copays on Medicare hospice services (for more information on opposing a copay on home health click here and for opposing additional copays on hospice click here). Additional resources to assist advocates during their meetings with Congress are available here. The 2016 March on Washington Conference is taking place April 3 – April 5 in Washington, D.C.

If you have not yet done so, make sure to register for the March on Washington Conference here.




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