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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 Energy & Commerce Committee Clears Six Bills That Prioritize Public Safety and FCC Oversight

April 29, 2016 12:13 PM

The House Energy & Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI-6), held a markup on Thursday, April 28, to consider several bills that would improve Americans’ access to public safety, enhance spectrum efficiency, and bring broadband to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The following bills were approved by the Committee: H.R. 2031, Anti-Swatting Act of 2015; H.R. 3998, Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act; H.R. 4111, Rural Health Care Connectivity Act of 2015; H.R. 4167, Kari’s Law Act of 2015; H.R. 4190, Spectrum Challenge Prize Act of 2015; and H.R. 4889, the Kelsey Smith Act.

“As we move forward with these bills, we continue our work towards more modern and effective communications laws. There is no question that this industry is driving our economy in so many ways, and it is our job to make sure that the law doesn’t unnecessarily stand in the way of that progress,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR-2), chairman of the E&C Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which approved the bills the week before.

Upton agreed on the value of the legislation. “Whether it’s dialing 9-1-1, providing tools to law enforcement, or promoting connectivity during disasters, today’s bills help Americans in times of emergency,” he said. “They modernize communications laws and continue to enable technology to improve the lives of folks back in Michigan and across the country.”

Of particular interest to long-term, post-acute care (LTPAC) providers is H.R. 4111, the Rural Health Care Connectivity Act of 2015, which expands the statutory definition of “health care provider” to include SNFs. The bill would make SNFs eligible for support from the Universal Service Fund’s Rural Health Care Program (RHCP) in order to increase access to telemedicine and improve exchange of electronic health records.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has argued for further expanding the definition of “health care provider” to include other providers in additions to SNFs. NAHC has long stressed the need for broadband services among home health agencies, a priority that appears in its yearly legislative blueprint. NAHC will continue addressing this issue and seeking chances to work with Congress in recognizing the important role home health plays in providing post-acute care to seniors in rural and underserved parts of the nation. Other stakeholders are also arguing that Congress should extend broadband to other providers given the increasing importance of telehealth services under Medicare or Medicaid.

In 1997, the FCC implemented the directives of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 by creating the RHCP funded by the Universal Service Fund. The program provided subsidies to rural health care providers to offset the costs of telecommunications and Internet services. According to the 1996 act, eligibility for funding under the RHCP is limited to public or nonprofit entities.

Despite funding from the RHCP, the 2010 National Broadband Plan (NBP) noted the existence of a gap in health IT broadband connectivity, particularly in rural areas. Among other things, the NBP recommended various reforms to the RHCP. Among them was having the FCC re-examine the interpretation of “health-care provider” in light of developing trends in the provision of health care.

In 2012 the FCC created the Healthcare Connect Fund to reform, expand, and modernize the RHCP. The FCC acknowledged that SNFs provide some of the “same post-acute services that are traditionally provided at hospitals,” though it could not conclude whether or under what circumstances an SNF might qualify as a health care provider according to the 1996 act. Meanwhile the FCC did establish a pilot program for testing how to support broadband connectivity in nonprofit SNFs, but in 2014, the FCC announced that it was deferring the program.




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