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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

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

April 15, 2016 09:02 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. For Part 1 of NAHC Report’s coverage of this session, please click here.

Ms. Harris addressed efforts by Medicaid to measure and ensure access to services for Medicaid beneficiaries. CMS released a Medicaid access monitoring regulation last year, she said, which requires states to do triennial access monitoring plans that CMS will then be reviewing to make sure states “are keeping an eye on access patternsand making sure that all of the necessary disciplines - between primary, acute and long-term care - are available to people.” She added that given the challenges to developing access measures for home and community-based services, CMS subsequently released a request for information. “We have every intention of continuing that conversation publicly as we are distilling some of the thoughts that we received in the form of public comment,” she said.

“The access reg is our firm intent to lay down federal benchmarks,” she continued, “and the triennial monitoring plan at least requires the states to be looking on a consistent basis and not waiting until it’s a crisis point. I think it is a great step forward. Whether or not it is the only thing that is necessary, I think, won’t reveal itself until we are a few years in.” William A. Dombi, Vice President for Law at NAHC, agreed that, from the provider perspective, the action is a “significant, positive step.”

Regarding the Medicaid face-to-face rule, Dombi asked Ms. Harris to address the extent to which the rule will reflect or differ from the Medicare face-to-face rule. “We did learn a lot of lessons from our Medicare colleagues,” she responded. “We did keep an eye on the fact that as time progressed they were loosening up a little bit on the documentation requirements of what the expectations were for physicians, or whoever was documenting the face-to-face, and what specific requirements needed to be in there.”

She acknowledged that the rule “will have fiscal implications” but argued that it will be a positive step forward for “community integration” and “alternatives to institutional services.” She also stated that, while the regulation will technically be effective in July 2016, there will be delayed implementation of the entire regulation for certain states based on their state legislative cycles. She said there will be a one or two year delay for certain states as a recognition of the fact that “there is a high likelihood that states will need to approach their legislatures for additional money to implement some of the DME provisions… If [the legislature meets] on an annual basis or a biannual basis or every two years, that will kind of drive the effective date of the regulation,” she said.

With the “wide variation” in available Medicaid home care benefits by state, Dombi asked Ms. Harris to speak to whether there might be steps Medicaid will take at the federal level to set “base minimum programs for home care in order comply with the ADA and Olmstead.” Ms. Harris responded, “To a large extent, I think the structure of the Medicaid program is such that there will always be 50 Medicaid programs.” She added, “It can be a heartbreaking conversation to have if someone is established receiving services in one state and, for any number of reasons, they need to relocate only to find that their needed services are not available to them.”

“I don’t see anything changing that reality unless there is some really broad, sweeping legislative change to the Medicaid program,” she said. “The good news is that because you have some states that are perpetually kind of out front pushing the envelope a little bit, there’s kind of laboratory in which to learn what works, what doesn’t, and allow some of the other states to go on a more direct path to implementing the promising practices. But it also requires the states to take the initiative to make the changes.”




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