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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 Special Committee on Aging Holds Roundtable Hearing on the Promises and Challenges of Telehealth

September 24, 2014 11:33 AM

Before the Senate adjourned for recess to prepare for the upcoming elections in November, the Special Committee on Aging held a roundtable hearing on the promises and challenges of telehealth – particularly its applications for an aging population. Former Senator John Breaux, who has worked with NAHC in his post-Senate career as well as being a member of the Alliance For Connected Care And Former Chairman Senate Special Committee on Aging, chaired the hearing.

“A larger and larger population living longer and longer means the care that they will require later in life is going to be a greater and greater challenge for us as a society,” said Senator Breaux in his opening remarks.

The hearings witnesses were:

  • Steve R. Ommen,
    Director, Cardiomyopathy Clinic, Mayo Clinic, And Professor
    Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  • Neal Neuberger,
    Executive Director
    Institute for e-Health Policy
  • Craig Silliman,
    Senior Vice President, Public Policy And Government Affairs,
    Verizon Communications
  • Ralph Sacco, MD,
    Chairman, Department Of Neurology, University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine, And Former President
    American Heart Association
  • Katheren Koehn, MA, RN,
    Member, American Nurses Association, And Executive Director,
    Minnesota Organization of Registered Nurses
  • Gail Gibson Hunt,
    President And CEO
    National Alliance for Caregiving
  • Alice Borrelli,
    Director Of Global Healthcare Policy,
    Intel Corporation
  • Jack Resneck, Jr., MD,
    Member, American Medical Association Board Of Trustees, And Vice Chair, Department Of Dermatology,
    University of California, San Francisco
  • Andrew I. Gavil,
    Director, Office Of Policy Planning,
    Federal Trade Commission
  • Matthew Quinn, MBA,
    Director Of Healthcare Initiatives
    Federal Communications Commission
  • Marc Hartstein,
    Director, Hospital And Ambulatory Policy Group
    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

In his testimony, Neal Neuberger, Executive Director of the Institute for e-Health Policy, stated that:

“As of June 1, 2014, there were six bills pending in the 113th Congress designed to enhance telehealth by addressing some of the above mentioned issues. Among them is H.R. 3306 the Telehealth Enhancement Act (introduced October 22, 2013), sponsored by Representatives Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), which would enhance telehealth coverage nationwide, including the following:

  • Require FCC rules on healthcare clinician access to telecommunications and information services to disregard clinician location
  • Cover telehealth services in Medicare hospital and post-acute care payment bundles
  • Allow Medicare accountable care organizations (ACOs) to use telehealth in the same way as Medicare managed care plans
  • Facilitate Medicare home-based kidney dialysis
  • Create a new Medicaid optional package for high-risk pregnancy and birth networks

Other opportunities, beyond those contained in H.R. 3306, include the expansion of remote patient monitoring into the home and the use of in-home technologies to further enable the concept of “aging in place.” HIMSS and the Personal Connected Health Alliance encourage advancing the concept of the e-Visit to include patient care and remote monitoring wherever the patient is located. This includes highlighting the ability to replicate the traditional in-person patient encounter using mobile devices and related mHealth technologies at home. The states should be encouraged to specifically include telephone, email, and fax in the definition of “telemedicine” or “telehealth” as a means of providing care.”

Gail Gibson Hunt, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving, stated in her testimony that:

“Our 2011 study on e-Connected Caregivers found that more than 70% of caregivers would find the following technologies very useful in providing care: personal health record tracking (77%), caregiving coordination systems (70%), and a medication support system (70%). Many in-home telehealth devices offer these capabilities, and the ability of the patient or caregiver to enter information from the comfort of the home. Yet over 40% of caregivers reported perceived barriers to trying these new technologies, including the belief that the technology will be expensive.

These fears are not unfounded. The out-of-pocket costs that caregivers must incur to support their loved ones are of continuing concern. This Committee has spoken eloquently in the past about the need to create a long-term care plan for Americans and to bridge the gaps of the Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security programs which are insufficient to address the needs of an aging population. Private long-term care insurers continue to reduce the number of insurance products available to support the needs of aging, chronically ill individuals. Without support from government or the private insurance market, family caregivers – who are unpaid friends and family members – have become the backbone of our society’s long-term care system. Technology, and telehealth, can offer a means to ease some of this burden, but only to the extent that these technologies are made affordable and accessible.”

All of the witnesses agreed that more attention and resources should be dedicated to telehealth to better meet the needs of the United States’ aging population. NAHC’s affiliate Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA) is also planning to submit testimony for the record that will emphasize HCTAA’s telehealth perspective with an emphasis on home care and the homebound population.

For more information on the recent Select Committee on Aging Roundtable, please click here.




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