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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

Bipartisan Group of House Members Ask Medicare to Rescind Its Prior Authorization Proposal

May 26, 2016 09:07 AM

A bipartisan group of House members led by Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) and James F. McGovern (D-MA) sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Andrew M. Slavitt calling for the withdrawal of the recently proposed use of prior authorization for all home health claims in five targeted states. The letter’s sponsors were joined by a diverse group of House members totaling 116 signers of the letter.

The House letter strongly states, “[w]e encourage you to refrain from moving forward with the proposed demonstration project in order to avoid delays or disruption in patient care and prevent restrictions on patient access to home health services.” Stating that prior authorization will interfere with the patient-physician relationship, the House members raise concerns that it “will effectively delay and deny home health care coverage for countless Medicare beneficiaries” and create an “unwarranted disruption and delay in patient care [that] will put the oldest and frailest Medicare beneficiaries at greatest risk.”

The House letter adds that there are concerns regarding “costlier hospital stays” and increased hospital readmissions along with “increased administrative burdens on both physicians and home health agencies, while likely adding little value for identifying and preventing fraud.” The 116 members of Congress also are critical that “[r]ather than a more focused approach targeting bad actors, this proposal will put a tremendous administrative burden on agencies with absolutely no track record of fraud.”

Getting 116 bipartisan members of Congress to send such a forceful letter to Medicare is no easy task. It happened because of the great efforts of the NAHC membership nationwide working in partnership with the Forum of State Associations to push for 10 consecutive days to convince members of Congress to sign on. With the leadership of Congressmen Price and McGovern, members of Congress from nearly every state joined together to get there strong message to Medicare to “withdraw the proposed demonstration for prior authorization of home health services in order to avoid health risks to patients, delays or disruptions in patient care and unnecessary restrictions on patient access to home health services.”  

What happens next? For starters, Medicare has a lot to think about regarding the future of home health prior authorization. Along with the assertive House letter, Senators from the directly affected states have also weighed in with their concerns with the proposal. In addition, NAHC and 35 others, including patient advocacy groups, have submitted detailed comments to CMS expressing all the same concerns raised by members of Congress and more. Among those concerns is the legal validity of the proposal in terms of the authority to implement prior authorization and the process by which CMS initiated its proposed action.

NAHC intends to keep this issue on the “front burner” and utilize all available avenues to derail the prior authorization proposal as it is now structured. We intend to continue to work with all of our congressional allies in the House and Senate. If needed, we will seek the introduction of legislation to block the proposal. Finally, a lawsuit remains an option down the line if CMS advances its proposal to implementation.

The letter sent by Congressmen Price and McGovern and the others is available here. In addition, we have included a list of the signers by state available here.  




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