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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

Senators Introduce Legislation to Make Independence at Home Demonstration Permanent

July 7, 2016 09:37 AM

Four bipartisan U.S. Senators—Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Rob Portman (R-OH)—on July 6 introduced legislation to make the Independence at Home demonstration into a permanent program under Medicare. Independence at Home, which began in 2012 as a three-year demonstration, focuses on certain high risk patients with chronic illnesses and provides incentives for improved quality outcomes and reduced expenditures. The model uses home-based primary care teams directed by physicians and nurse practitioners. Last year, President Obama signed into law legislation that extended the demonstration for another two years (see previous NAHC Report article here).

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in June 2015 that Independence at Home had resulted in $25 million in Medicare savings during its first year. The model also resulted in reduced hospital readmissions and improved quality outcomes (see previous NAHC Report article here). At the time, CMS Acting Administrator Andrew M. Slavitt said those results supported the argument “that chronically ill patients can be better taken care of in their own homes,” which he said “most Americans already want.”

The Senators introducing the most recent legislation praised Independence at Home for providing patients with more affordable care in their own homes where they prefer to be. According to a press release by the Senators, similar legislation is being developed for introduction in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“It’s time to turn the successful experiment that is Independence at Home into a nationwide practice,” said Senator Markey. “We can design Medicare so that it works smarter, not harder for its beneficiaries. Independence at Home allows teams of doctors and nurses to continue to care for severely ill Medicare patients in the home, bringing the house calls of yesteryear into the 21st century. I thank Senator Cornyn for his partnership on this legislation to ensure that this innovative program is permanently accessible to all Medicare beneficiaries and their family caregivers in the future.”

“This bill ensures patients can have access to quality health care at home and their families will have a greater sense of security for their loved ones, all while lowering costs,” said Senator Cornyn. “I appreciate Sen. Markey’s partnership and look forward to continuing our work on this important legislation.”

“In Colorado, we’ve demonstrated how a strong coordinated care network can lead to better results at a lower cost to patients, hospitals, and our health care system,” said Senator Bennet. “The expansion of the Independence at Home model builds on these efforts by allowing seniors in Colorado with chronic conditions to get the care they need while staying out of the hospital.”

“I have seen the benefits the Independence at Home program has provided for seniors in Northeast Ohio during the demonstration program—it has reduced hospital readmissions, prevented costly hospital and nursing home admissions, and most importantly kept patients healthy and in their preferred care setting,” said Senator Portman.“I’m excited to join my colleagues to introduce legislation today to make the IAH program permanent and accessible to Medicare beneficiaries across all of Ohio and the nation.”

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) supports Independence at Home. NAHC also advocates for an expanded focus on chronic care management with a broader population than covered under Independence at Home. Regarding the legislation to extend the demonstration last year, NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris called it “a good step in what needs to be an increased focus on home and community-based care.” 

For more information about Independence at Home on the CMS website, click here.




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