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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

Excerpts from NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris’ Interview with Tom Rath, One of this Year’s Annual Meeting General Session Speakers

October 18, 2013 08:52 AM

Tom Rath is one of the most influential authors of the last decade. He studies the role of human behavior in health, business, and economics. Rath writes and speaks on a wide range of topics, from well-being to organizational leadership.

Rath’s latest book, Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes, is already receiving critical acclaim as a “transformative work.” His roadmap for “leading a long and meaningful life” is the latest of several international bestsellers including the #1 New York Times bestseller, How Full Is Your Bucket? In total, his books have sold more than 5 million copies, been translated in 16 languages, and made over 250 appearances on the Wall Street Journal’s bestseller list.

Rath serves as a senior scientist and advisor to Gallup, where he previously spent 13 years leading the organization’s work on employee engagement, strengths, and well-being. He also served as vice chairman of the VHL cancer research organization. He earned degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania, where he is now a regular guest instructor. Rath and his wife Ashley, along with their two children live in Arlington, Virginia.

Below are excerpts from his interview with NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris. The full interview will be featured in an upcoming issue of CARING Magazine.

VJH: There have been many studies that have been contradictory about whether something is good for you or not.  With coffee, for example, some studies say it’s good for you, some say it’s not. Recently some definitive studies suggest that a cup or two a day is therapeutic, and even those who don't like coffee ought to take it medicinally.

Is that where the science on that issue stands?

TR: The challenge is that for some people coffee isn’t a good idea – people with specific heart conditions, pregnant women, and so forth.  For the vast majority of people, coffee is very positive and one of the more powerful antioxidants that can prevent disease.  It’s all about our own unique situation and tolerance.

We all have a responsibility to learn a bit more about our own personal situation and conditions and how different things that we eat and our activity levels and sleeping can help prevent disease and improve good health in the long run. A lot of that research is dependent on your specific condition. I recommend people spend an hour looking through the research out there in terms of relationships for some of your greatest health risks and conditions and what you can do to be in control of those.

VJH:  We're moving into an era of individualized medicine that also applies to the food we eat.

TR: Every bite or drink we take is essentially either a net positive or a net negative. If you order a healthy salad filled with vegetables, that's a clear net positive.  However, if that salad is covered with a fat‑laden dressing with a lot of sugar, it might be more neutral or a negative.

What's important to think about is how you can use not only food, but activity and rest to help ensure that you have more energy throughout the day. The good news is what's best for your long‑term health is also the best for the short-term. It's easier for us to make changes because we know it will result in a better day today instead of to prevent heart disease or cancer 30 years down the road. It's important to make a lot of the short‑term connections.

VJH: The second word in your book is "move." What are the most important rules for exercise?

TR: Even if you exercise for 30 or 50 minutes, five or six days a week, that doesn’t counteract sitting down for seven, eight or nine hours a day, as most of us do. We circle around in our car for ten minutes to find a closest spot instead of parking in the back of the lot and taking an extra 30 steps. The biggest challenge is figuring out how to engineer activity back into our lives

VJH: We need to reengineer how we spend our day, try to get as much movement throughout the whole day.

TR: The little things add up. I found that using an inexpensive pedometer to track my steps during the day helps. Once you see how much you’re moving, it’s incentive to add a few more steps every day. It's not that hard to get to a real good number, which is about 10,000 steps in a given day.  Most Americans hit just over 5,000 steps a day.

VJH: The third word of your book is "sleep.”  Talk about the importance of sleep. What’s a reasonable amount of sleep we should strive for?

TR: Sleeping may be just as important for what we've learned prior to that night as it is for being fresh the next day. Good sleep makes a real difference. There’s value in it. I used to view sleep as an expense or something that I had to get done. Now I view sleep as an investment in my future and an investment in the people I'm going to spend time with the next day. Once I started to think about sleep through that lens, it helped me prioritize sleep.

A lot of emerging science is looking at how chronic disruptions to your sleep is linked not only heart disease, but increases in cancer and metastasis. Those disruptions aren’t good for your body’s rhythms.  A sound night of sleep not only resets a bad day and provides you with a fresh start, but it also affects what's going on inside you.

VJH: If you can only do one thing - sleep seven or eight hours a night or get in an hour or two of daily exercise - your book suggests that sleep is more valuable.

TR: We need to think about all three of these things as being greatly interdependent. If I get a poor night's sleep, it's a statistical fact that I'm more likely to wake up in the morning and eat lousy foods, I'm more likely to skip my workout, and as a result, I'm likely to get a poor night's sleep the next night.  It can start a downhill spiral if just one of those three falls out of sync. It's tough to recover from that and move it back in the right direction.

VJH: What does happiness mean to you?  How do you get happiness?  How do you keep it?

TR: One way to get happiness is by not trying too hard to get happiness. The research is just fascinating if you look at how people spend their money. If you spend money on yourself and indulge in purchases for yourself, it actually decreases your happiness over time.

VJH: Can you tell us what caring means to you?

TR: I've read a lot of books about great leaders, and there are a lot of good ideas and theories about it. We wanted to ask ordinary citizens in countries around the world what leader has had the most positive impact in their life, and how they would describe that. Sure enough, one of the first words that came to people's mind was "caring." In most cases, they used the word "love" to describe the most influential leader in their life over time. Leaders influence people through caring. There's no greater service to the world than to care for another human being and for them to know that and embrace that and for that to make a difference in how they lead their lives. I define caring as the thoughts and words and actions that I take and make that have a positive influence on other people.

To register to attend NAHC’s Annual Meeting, and to hear Tom Rath in person, please click here.




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