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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

CMS Official Addresses Outlook on Medicaid Home Care Policy at the March on Washington (Part 1 of 2)

April 14, 2016 11:22 AM

Melissa Harris, Senior Policy Advisor for the Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group at the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), spoke at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice’s (NAHC) 2016 March on Washington Conference regarding the outlook on Medicaid home care policy. In introducing Ms. Harris, William A. Dombi, Vice President for Law at NAHC, said he has found her to “not only be an accessible and intelligent individual working at CMS,” but someone who understands the “real life aspects of Medicaid.” Further, he said the she understands “that people should be given the opportunity to stay home for all of care,” and that Medicaid in recent time has been recognizing the need to rebalance long-term care spending towards home and community-based services.

Ms. Harris said that Medicaid has indeed been “moving really over the last couple decades to more of a focus on home-based care.” While “there will probably always be room in some context for institutions in the Medicaid program,” she said that “by and large the goal of Medicaid is to make sure that people have choices and, if they want to be receiving care in their communities, in their homes, it is there for them to receive.”  She added that the home care and hospice community has “the deep appreciation of all of us at CMS” because “you are the ones who are in the trenches every day delivering the services that are really at the root foundation of the Medicaid program.”

She acknowledged “some of the forces that are swirling around the home care industry at this time” due to actions by the federal government. “My commitment to you is that CMS is aware of them. We don’t necessarily have magic bullets to have an easy solution for them but we are very cognizant of all that you are dealing with,” she said.

The success of Medicaid will continue to be dependent on home and community-based care, she said. “It’s going to be through you, and with you, that we continue to be successful - having a real choice for people to maintain themselves in the community and stay out of institutions - and so your role in the success of the program is pivotal and much recognized at the federal level.”

Regarding the “megatrends” in Medicaid home care policy moving forward, she highlighted continued trends toward managed care and value-based purchasing. “It’s not always a quick conversation at CMS as to what direction we are taking in terms of payment policy, payment reform, but we are always interested in new ideas that really hit the three-part aim that is still very much the mantra at CMS, which is, ‘better care, better health experience, lower cost,’” she said. “It’s very hard to argue with those three tenets, and if a state puts in front of us a payment model that can accomplish those three, then it will have a lot of consideration given to it… I think managed care and value-based purchasing are likely here to stay unless some kind of surprise comes upon us.”

With the end of the administration approaching, she said, “most likely I would say that we are coming to the end of a pretty heavy period of regulatory revisions… and as the dust is settling on some of the new regs – some of which are not even effective yet -  I think a lot of us are kind of trying to get our bearings under us and find out what all of this means for Medicaid moving forward. And, as usual, you all will be right at the epicenter because, as home care providers, pretty much all of it will be impacting you.”

Stay tuned to NAHC Report for Part II of our coverage on the session with Melissa Harris regarding the outlook on Medicaid home care policy at the March on Washington.




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