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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

Heath 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

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

Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing on the ABLE Act

Bill would establish tax-exempt ABLE accounts to assist individuals with a disabilities in building tax-exempt savings accounts to pay for qualified disability expenses
August 5, 2014 03:23 PM

Prior to adjourning for its five-week August recess, the Senate Finance Committee Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight held a hearing on the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. The measure, if enacted, would allow individuals with disabilities to set up tax-exempt savings accounts to pay for qualified disability expenses. The bill, S. 313, was introduced by Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) and has significant bipartisan support with 74 additional senators signed-on as sponsors. The identical bill in the House also has strong bipartisan support with 380 Representatives signed-on as sponsors. The House bill was introduced by Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL).

The bill specifies what services are considered, “qualified disability expenses,” including health and wellness services such as habilitation and rehabilitation services, therapy, respite care and long-term services and supports. Additionally, the ABLE Act stipulates that the amount a person has saved in an ABLE account will not be factored into Medicare or other means-tested federal programs.

In his opening statement, Senator Casey – the Chairman of the Subcommittee as well as the bill’s original sponsor – said that:

“The tax code provides incentives for Americans to save for important priorities, such as retirement or college, through tax-advantaged savings accounts. However, those with disabilities are not afforded the same opportunity to save for their future.

In fact, many adults with disabilities cannot save money to cover costs related to their disability without becoming ineligible for programs like Social Security Disability Insurance or Medicaid that provide a necessary lifeline to so many in need…

The ABLE Act would fix this unfair dynamic by creating tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. Specifically, it would build on the popular Section 529 college savings account program to allow families who have a loved one with a disability to similarly save tax-free for qualified disability expenses. Beneficiaries will be able to make tax-free withdrawals from their ABLE accounts to cover basic needs like education, housing, transportation and healthcare. Benefits provided through private insurance, the Medicaid program, the beneficiary’s employer, and other sources would be supplemented, but not supplanted by the legislation.”

The Subcommittee’s Ranking Member, Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY) also emphasized his support for the ABLE Act, stating that:

“The ABLE Act would take a small step in helping disabled individuals support themselves, pursue their dreams, and put themselves in a place of greater financial security. It would allow them and their families to open tax-exempt accounts so that they can plan how to best use their own funds to cover their living expenses. In our economy, many families are very familiar with the challenge of saving for the future well-being and needs of their children. A family with a disabled individual faces even more unique emotional and financial obstacles. The ABLE Act would help these families meet these challenges, whether it's paying for specialized care or a more individualized education to maintain their health and their independence, or provide for a better quality of life.”

Among the witnesses were advocates of people living with disabilities – including a representative from the National Down Syndrome Society, Autism Speaks, and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) who is both a cosponsor of the House Bill, as well as the mother of a child born with Down Syndrome. In her remarks, Ms. McMorris Rodgers stated that, “As Americans, we believe in empowering all people regardless of where you come from or who you are. Policies, like the ABLE Act, will bring this very empowerment to millions of Americans – transforming them from a state of dependence into one of independence.”

While not directly related to home care, NAHC is supportive of the legislation. Said NAHC Vice President for Law and Executive Director of the NAHC-affiliated Home Care and Hospice Financial Manager’s Association Bill Dombi, “We need to find new and innovative ways to finance home care services, and this bill is a step in that direction.”

For more on the recent Senate Finance Subcommittee hearing, please click here.

For more information on the ABLE Act, please click here.




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