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Testimonials

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. 

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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.

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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

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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 element...it’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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Former President Bill Clinton

NAHC Makes Recommendations to CMS for Medicare Enrollment

May 18, 2017 03:29 PM

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and a host of interested groups representing 57 million Americans who rely on Medicare for guaranteed access to health benefits answered a call by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for comments on the “Welcome to Medicare” educational packages.

In the interest of promoting smooth transitions to Medicare for older adults and people with disabilities newly eligible for the program, NAHC co-authored a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, suggesting ways to make the “Welcome to Medicare” packages better at ensuring that people new to Medicare avoid the harmful pitfalls, including increased health care costs and premiums, gaps in essential health coverage, and disruptions in access to needed care, often associated with honest Medicare enrollment mistakes.

To mitigate such pitfalls and to improve CMS’ existing educational content, we recommend the following:

  • Provide all people approaching Medicare eligibility with enrollment notice and materials. For many people new to Medicare, there is no communication that provides education on when and how to enroll in Medicare Part B or what may result from delayed enrollment, nor is there any trigger to spur individuals to seek out this information. As a result, many of our organizations hear from older adults and people with disabilities who wrongly believed that because they had existing insurance, like COBRA benefits, retiree insurance, or a Qualified Health Plan (QHP), they did not need to enroll in Part B. As noted above, these individuals often face severe consequences that can prevent them from receiving urgently needed care.
         CMS should fill this long-standing notification gap and ensure that all people approaching Medicare eligibility receive the content made available through the “Welcome to Medicare” packages. We strongly encourage CMS to work with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and other federal partners to extend enrollment mailings to include individuals who are not auto-enrolled in Medicare. And, as necessary, we urge CMS to work with Congress to pass the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act, which would expressly provide data sharing authority and other instruction to supply advance notice of Medicare enrollment rules to all people nearing Medicare eligibility.
  • Place a greater emphasis on coordination of benefits considerations. We find that CMS generally succeeds in communicating about the consequences of delayed enrollment concerning the potential for lifetime premium penalties. Yet, we find that appropriate emphasis is lacking with respect to coordination of benefits concerns, most importantly for those with coverage from a small employer, COBRA, retiree insurance, or a QHP. The consequences of delayed enrollment for those who retain only secondary health insurance can be severe, resulting in gaps in health care coverage and significantly higher health care costs. These considerations should be more adequately represented across CMS’ educational content for those newly enrolled in Medicare, for those who declined Part B, and for those approaching Medicare eligibility.
  • Retain content on seeking help in other languages. We greatly appreciate that CMS includes information in multiple languages on how to seek help with Medicare enrollment early on in the current “Welcome to Medicare” packages. As the documents are revised, we strongly urge the agency to preserve this content and maintain the location as one of the first pages a beneficiary receives.
  • Create separate, standardized content based on the reason for Medicare eligibility. Medicare eligibility and enrollment policies vary significantly based on how most people become eligible for the program—upon turning age 65 or upon receipt of Social Security disability benefits after a 24-month waiting period. Where possible, we suggest that CMS develop separate, standardized content for each of these populations. Writing one document intended to suit the needs of both groups makes it more difficult to clarify and streamline complicated information. The “Welcome to Medicare” packages would be more effective, and could be simplified, if targeted based on the reason for Medicare eligibility.
  • Use consistent branding and a uniform aesthetic on the “Welcome to Medicare” packages. This includes agency logos, fonts, and colors across all enrollment-related and beneficiary-facing publications. Many individuals are unaware of the organizational relationships between CMS, SSA, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which easily results in confusion.

NAHC urges CMS to incorporate the input provided above as it seeks to strengthen its educational content for older adults and people with disabilities who are nearing Medicare eligibility. We also encourage CMS to utilize focus groups and other forms of beneficiary testing to ensure that this material is as clear and effective as possible.

 

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