WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 13, 2017) — As the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) celebrates its 35th birthday, we reflect fondly on our many accomplishments, but even more do we look forward to facing the challenges ahead.
NAHC was formed on March 10, 1982, through the merger of the National Association for Home Health Agencies and the Council of Home Health Agencies. The merger occurred specifically on March 10 in order to mark the birthday of Lillian D. Wald, born on March 10, 1867. A nursing pioneer and founder of the Henry Street Settlement in New York City, Wald led the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, which would become the model for all home health organizations.
“NAHC has worked tirelessly and played a crucial role to unify and professionalize homecare and hospice,” said NAHC President Val Halamandaris. “NAHC is the embodiment of the joint efforts of thousands to serve the aged, disabled and ill. As we celebrate NAHC’s 35th birthday, we remain ever-focused on continuing to achieve success on behalf of our members to advance quality and cost-effective care for some 12 million seniors and disabled persons each year.”
Since its founding, NAHC is responsible for significant achievements in improving and growing homecare and hospice across the country. While there were only 3,000 homecare agencies in 1982, today there are over 35,000 agencies and some 3 million employees. Total revenue has increased from an estimated $3 billion in 1982 to roughly $100 billion today. While NAHC began with only 200 members, it has over 6,000 today. In 1982, roughly 1.3 million received homecare services; about 12 million receive such care today.
NAHC and its many members place the concerns of the infirm and dying before institutional or corporate interests. If you can tell much about a society from the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens, then NAHC and the homecare and hospice community reflect some of the finest virtues of America, by caring tirelessly for the elderly, the disabled and sick, the terminally ill and millions of children facing serious health problems in the dawn of their lives. Too often in the vast panoply of human history, these people have been relegated to the margins, existing all-too-briefly in the shadow of life. But NAHC and the millions of workers in the homecare and hospice community insist that these people deserve respect and the finest care possible—and back up those words with hard work every single day.
The years ahead will see the acceleration of a demographic tidal wave, as 78 million baby boomers move into retirement and face the health issues that often accompany advanced age. No society is wealthy enough to care for so many in institutions and they will demand homecare, in any case, because it allows them to age gracefully, in their own homes and communities, with their families and their independence intact. Homecare is poised for dramatic growth in the coming years and NAHC will be on the front lines every day to defend the interests of its members and the millions of Americans we serve.
NAHC will continue to forcefully make our case to legislators and regulators, that homecare and hospice saves the country billions of dollars a year compared to hospitals and nursing homes and delivers the finest care possible. There are many challenges ahead of us—defeating pre-claim review, allowing nurse practitioners to certify a patient’s eligibility for the Medicare home health benefit, maintaining stability in the Medicare hospice benefit—and NAHC will be leading the fight to win those battles.
Visit nahc.org for more information.