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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

Tales from the Nation’s Top Home Care and Hospice Nurses

August 27, 2014 11:26 AM

Nursing is our nation’s most trusted profession, says the latest Gallup poll of Honesty/Ethics in Professions. This finding comes as no surprise since nurses have topped the list for 14 of the past 15 years. “Nurses consistently get these high marks because of their empathy, professionalism, and compassion,” said Val J. Halamandaris, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC). To honor their achievements, NAHC and its affiliate Home Healthcare Nurses Association (HHNA) have held their third annual Nurse Recognition Program. This year, like previous years, thousands of agencies nationwide sent in their candidates for America’s top home care and hospice nurses.

The 50 winners we feature stand out for their clinical skills — and their compassion. Among this year’s finalists, there is a Georgia nurse who sang with her patient to gain his trust, a New York nurse who gave a frightened young mom the confidence to finish school, a Kansas nurse whose teenage patient is thrilled that she always gets the IV in on the first poke, the Arizona nurse who holds ice cream parties for a patient with Down syndrome and dementia. There is also the Iowa nurse who turned a patient’s home into an ICU so he could end life in the place he loved most, and the Delaware nurse who made a diagnosis that escaped several doctors.

The expertise of nurses like these has led to repeated calls to expand nurses’ scope of practice. Recognition of nurses’ skills inspired the Home Health Improvement Act, which would let nurse practitioners order home health care — and highlighting what nurses can do is the goal of our recognition program. NAHC’s winners met a number of strict criteria established by a selection committee made up of members from the HHNA advisory board, NAHC’s board of directors and its Forum of State Associations.

The selection committee asked all agencies to submit an essay about their nurse and answer a variety of questions: Does the nurse’s story paint a positive picture of home care and hospice? Does the story show that the nurse provided exceptional care? Does the applicant demonstrate excellence in nursing through credentials, awards, and honors? Did the applicant make a difference in their patients’ lives? And do they inspire us to be our best?

The home care and hospice nurses who appear here are among the finest, as the committee determined by vote. The committee also voted for the top 10 contenders for Home Care & Hospice Nurse of the Year. Now it’s your chance to decide which of them will make the cut. From Friday, July 11, to Monday, September 30, NAHC members and the public can go to and cast the final vote from this select group of nurses.

The celebration of their achievements begins when you read their stories. It continues in October when NAHC invites the 50 nurses to its Annual Meeting & Exposition in Phoenix, Arizona. NAHC will waive their registration fees for the meeting and honor them at a reception. The top 10 nurses will receive a $70 gift certificate from Hopkins Medical Products, now marking 70 years in business. Hopkins will also give a $140 gift certificate to the Nurse of the Year, and NAHC is taking added steps to recognize the top nurse by paying their travel and hotel expenses in addition to giving them a new Apple iPad.

This very special nurse will appear on stage at the Annual Meeting. “It’s a unique chance to put a face on our industry,” said Andrea L. Devoti, RN, chairman of the NAHC board. “Our focus is to highlight the impact that nurses make day in and day out in homes across the country,” despite the challenges they face. “It’s time for the public to honor nurses and thank them for all they contribute,” said Elaine Stephens, RN, NAHC executive VP and HHNA’sHH current chairman. “This is our chance to remind everyone how hard it is for nurses to do their vital work while facing senseless cuts in reimbursement.”

What inspires nurses to carry on in the face of shrinking resources, growing regulations, and patient loads that get heavier each year? You’ll get the answers from some of the country’s best nurses who all know home is the best place for patients to heal. The stories to come bring home this point as our 50 nurses express love for their patients and their work. Which of them deserves to be Home Care & Hospice Nurse of the Year? We trust you to decide.

To read the nurses’ stories, please click here.




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