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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

Institute of Medicine Releases New Report – Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preference Near the End of Life

November 4, 2014 10:56 AM

The Institute of Medicine recently released a report, Dying in America:  Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preference Near the End of Life.  While the report did not have a strong focus on hospice or some of the conditions hospices are dealing with, such as Alzheimer’s, it does provide useful information on the current state of end of life care. 

National palliative care expert Dr. Diane Meier conducted a webinar overview of the report where NAHC’s affiliate Hospice Association of America (HAA) was a participant. Dr. Meier explained how the Institute of Medicine improves general awareness, for the topics on which it reports, among professionals, policy makers, and the general public.  The IoM has made the message clear through this most current report and previous reports that palliative care is essential to quality of life care. 

The Dying in America report was commissioned by “A publicly spirited donor wishing to remain anonymous.”  The donor and the IoM staff developed the following Statement of Task for this report:

Current state of end of life care with respect to:

  • Delivery of medical care and social supports
  • Patient-family-provider communication of values and preferences
  • Advance care planning
  • Health care costs, financing, and reimbursement
  • Education of health professionals, patients and loved ones, and the public at large

After study, the key recommendations of the report are:

  • Person-centered, family-oriented (palliative) care. The recommendation is that integrated, person-centered, family-oriented (palliative) care that is consistently accessible near end of life be provided by all health care delivery organizations and be paid for by all payers.
  • Clinician-patient communication and advance care planning. The recommendation is that advance care planning documents should not take the place of communication.  Professional and quality organizations should develop standards for clinician-patient communicationand advance care planning that are measurable, actionable, and evidence based. Adherence to these standards should be tied to credentialing, licensing, and reimbursement.
  • Professional education and development. The recommendation is for education institutions, professional societies, accrediting organizations, certifying bodies, health care delivery organizations and medical centers establish training, certification, and licensure requirements that strengthen the palliative care knowledge and skills of all clinicianswho care for individuals with advanced serious illness.
  • Policies and payment systems. The IoM found that reform is necessary for how resources for care near the end of life are organized.  The recommendation is federal, state, and private insurance and health care delivery programs should integrate the financing and delivery of medical and social services - and require public reporting of quality and costs for care near the end of life.
  • Public education and engagement. Every element of society - societal level, community and family level, individual level - should engage their constituents and provide factual information about care of people with advanced serious illness to encourage advance care planning and informed choice based on the needs and values of individuals

Dr. Meier stressed the importance of moving palliative care forward by providing guidance and examples of how to do this throughout the webinar.  Based on history and feedback from policy makers, Dr. Meier found that securing a sponsor and having consistent messaging from all stakeholders were two key criteria for change. 

Dr. Meier encourages stakeholders to start by telling the story of palliative care and aligning with and creating coalitions of significance for coordination and alignment of the palliative care message.  In order to impact change, providers and interested parties can actually do many things including collecting outcomes data and working with payers to develop strategies that target and manage high cost patients with serious illness; creating patient care screening tools to identify those who would benefit from advance care planning; providing and requiring training in communication skills and advance care planning, etc. 

The IoM will engage in a 12-month dissemination phase for the Dying in America report that will include materials, stakeholder outreach and evaluating tactics to inform future decision-making.  




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