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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

House Budget Committee Approves Budget Resolution, Which Includes Medicare and Medicaid Proposals of Concern

March 18, 2016 11:16 AM

On March 16, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee approved a fiscal year 2017 budget resolution, including Medicare and Medicaid proposals. The budget resolution, which proposes $1.07 trillion in discretionary spending for FY2017 and $7 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years, would change Medicare into a premium-based system, combine Medicare Part A and Part B, limit supplemental insurance, and turn Medicaid into a block grant program. The resolution would also repeal the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as the ACA in its entirety. While NAHC supports targeted reforms to the ACA, such as repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board, NAHC opposes the proposals in the resolution restructuring Medicare and Medicaid that create barriers to home care and hospices services.

The Committee also passed an amendment to the resolution encouraging leaders to attach “sidecar” legislation that would cut an additional $30 billion over two years and $150 billion over a decade. While the full House may have enough votes to pass the legislation along with the budget resolution on the House floor, the Medicare and Medicaid proposals would unlikely pass the Senate and would be opposed by the President. The potential companion legislation would include H.R. 4725, the Common Sense Savings Act, which was passed out of the House Energy & Commerce (E&C) Committee this week. H.R. 4725 would reduce the Medicaid provider tax from 6 – 5.5 percent. Some states use the tax on nursing homes to generate in-state funds that qualify for federal matching funds. The proposal would have the effect of reducing federal Medicaid funding to the states. Another proposal in H.R. 4725 would eliminate the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage for the Children’s Health Insurance Program starting in FY2016 through FY2019.

The Budget Committee passed the budget resolution by a vote of 20-16 and the E&C Committee passed H.R. 4725 by a vote of 28-19.

In its Legislative Blueprint for Action, NAHC stated that any efforts to change the Medicare program through vouchers, premium support or some other mechanism, would place many seniors at risk, seriously erode support for the program, and set a dangerous precedent for other programs. While preparing the Medicare program for the changing coverage needs and demographics of the 21st century, Congress should ensure that Medicare continues to provide dependable, affordable, quality health care to older and disabled Americans. NAHC also stated that 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.

The budget also contains positive provisions such as repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board and language recognizing the burden of recent regulations on Medicare providers and the effect of reducing their margins. “Washington’s response to this problem has been to impose more mandates, rules, and regulations to try to control costs, which leads to fewer services and less care for seniors,” the budget resolution states. “Medicare currently pays approximately 67 percent of what private insurance pays for hospital services. In many instances, reimbursements for services fall well below the costs of providing care. By 2040, the Medicare Trustees estimate that approximately half of all hospitals, 70 percent of skilled nursing facilities, and 90 percent of home health agencies will have negative margins. This will cause many providers to withdraw from participating in the Medicare program and would unquestionably limit access to quality care for beneficiaries.”

The budget resolution and “sidecar” legislation demonstrate the importance of attending this year’s Home Care & Hospice March on Washington Conference to ensure Congress rejects proposals that would create barriers to home care and hospice. In addition to the actions by Congress, President Obama released his budget request earlier this year that included a new proposal related to hospice services titled, “Reform of Medicare Hospice Payments,” which includes among other provisions a cut to the hospice inflation update; as well as several repeat proposals from last year of great concern to the home health community including the introduction of a home health copayment; further cuts to post-acute care provider payments, including home health care; provisions for a bundled payment program for post-acute providers; as well as value-based purchasing for post-acute care providers (more information about the President’s budget request is available here). The March on Washington Conference is taking place April 3 – 5 in Washington, D.C.

Make sure to register for the March on Washington Conference here.




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