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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

COLA Hike Might Bring Big Medicare Premium Increases

October 18, 2016 03:51 PM

Social Security’s annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) will be 0.3 percent in 2017, the federal government announced Tuesday. The increase could mean a large premium increase for many Medicare Part B beneficiaries. The COLA is pegged to consumer price inflation (CPI) in the year that ended last September.

It is unclear how much Medicare premiums might increase, though a hike of 22 percent was projected by the Medicare trustees earlier this year. Though Medicare has not announced the final 2017 premium increases, word on that could come in the next few weeks. Last year the Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement on November 10, 2016

According to the 2016 Medicare Trustees Report, Part B premiums are currently scheduled to increase from $121.80/month this year up to $149/month, a bump of 22 percent. The trustees also estimate the Part B deductible will rise from $166 to $204 next year for all enrollees. Those numbers are only estimates and the actual figures could well be different.

The increase is happening because of a “hold harmless” provision that forbids Medicare Part B premium increases from being larger, in dollar amount, than the beneficiary’s Social Security cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA). This rarely matters because Social Security benefits are much larger than a beneficiary’s Part B premium.However, there was a zero COLA last year and a mere 0.3 percent this year. Therefore, the hold harmless provision is triggered, leaving about 30 percent of beneficiaries with a substantial increase in their Medicare Part B premium and deductible. That 30 percent will have to foot the bill for a premium increase that would normally be spread among all Medicare beneficiaries.

Those affected by the increase include:

  • New Medicare beneficiaries;
  • Beneficiaries who have not started receiving Social Security;
  • Low-income beneficiaries who have their premiums paid by Medicaid;
  • High-income beneficiaries who pay higher premiums between 35 and 80 percent of program costs; and
  • Certain state and local employees who do not participate in Social Security.

Last year, when there was no COLA adjustment for Social Security benefits, Congress reduced a big increase in Part B premiums affecting about one-third of Medicare recipients. However, that fix only applied to that year and does not cover 2017.

Late last month NAHC and a group of about 75 health care and employee groups sent a letter to Congress on September 27 urging lawmakers to prevent the increase in out of pocket health care costs from occurring.The legislative fix required to remedy this situation is fairly simple, involving the modification of the 2017 safeguard put in last year’s budget deal to apply even with a COLA that is low, but not zero.

"Seniors in Medicare expect their health costs to be affordable and stable, and I'll be looking at every option in the days ahead to make sure that remains the case," said Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in a statement.

The CPI index is used to set the COLA, though it has often been criticized for under-estimating actual inflation for things older Americans consume disproportionately, such as health care.

We will continue to monitor and advocate on this issue so stay tuned to NAHC Report for further developments.




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