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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

Senate Special Committee on Aging Continues the Conversation on Advanced Care Planning with Roundtable Discussion

June 10, 2014 12:13 PM

The Senate Special Committee on Aging recently held a round table discussion, Continuing the Conversation: The Role of Health Care Providers in Advance Care Planning. It was the second hearing on this topic in the past year. This hearing was intended to build on the previous hearing Renewing the Conversation: Respecting Patients' Wishes and Advance Care Planning, which the committee held last June. Panelists focused on the emerging clinical care models for patients with advanced illness and what is needed to accelerate the development and adoption of advanced care planning tools.

Home care and hospice settings are often the first place families and patients are required to make important decisions about the level of care they would like to receive at the end of their lives. Emerging mostly through leadership in the private sector, providers have a number of advanced care planning models from which to choose and can help determine the model that will best serve their clients. Many of these care models are designed to provide support where the patient live, keeping care in the home and community and promoting team-based care.

“Some 25% of seniors loose their entire assets during the last 5 years of life because of the cost of advanced illness care”, according to panelist Bill Novelli, Co-Chair of the Coalition to Transform Advances Care. Research shows that the majority of seriously ill patients want to be at home with family and friends, have their pain managed and their spiritual needs met, and to be sure those who love them are not emotionally or financially devastated as a result of their illness. Although there may be different approaches to end-of-life decision-making, it is widely agreed upon that it is far better to make these choices before a crisis occurs.

Senator Tammy Baldwin, who sits on the Senate Aging Committee, cited in her opening statement that 99.4 percent of citizens in La Crosse, Wisconsin have advanced care planning records that are easily accessible and comprehensive. This was made possible by a bill passed by the House of Representatives in that state that pays providers for periodic end-of-life planning conversations with patients. However there are barriers to achieving that type of success national level.

NAHC supports legislation that would address some of these barriers. Because those who have advance directives are not assured that this legal document will be honored in any state other than the state in which it was executed, an individual is burdened with the responsibility of having the advance directive meet the laws of any state in which that person may be spending time.

NAHC proposes Congress should support legislation that ensures the portability of an individual’s advance directive between health care facilities as well as between states.

Advance directives belong to the individual and should not be interfered with or interrupted by the laws of any particular state or health care facility. As an individual travels or relocates to a different state, end-of-life-care choices should be honored based on the choices of the individual, not based on the location of the individual. Establishing a nationwide policy on advance directives that assures the portability of an individual’s end-of-life care choices strengthens patient self-determination efforts and could encourage more individuals to communicate with families, physicians and health care providers about their end-of-life-care choices.

NAHC also encourages Congress to authorize voluntary advance care planning consultations under Medicare to educate beneficiaries on issues related to end-of-life care and end-of-life care planning. Voluntary advance care planning consultations under Medicare would help to familiarize beneficiaries with end-of-life care choices and the availability of the Medicare hospice benefit and the services available under it so that a beneficiary is more aware of the options available to them if terminal illness should occur.

Regardless of the model used, providers should understand their role is to engage, educate, offer guidance, and support the family and patient in this process – with them in the center of the care and planning. There is no replacement for the role of family and loved ones in end-of-life care and planning, it’s critical that the family drive the conversations and decision-making.

To read NAHC’s official legislative position on Advance Directives, please click here.

For more information on this hearing- including panelists’ and Members’ statements and background information, please click here.

To read more from NAHC Report on this topic, please click here.




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