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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

Senators Reintroduce Care Planning Act

NAHC Urges Members to Seek Senate Cosponsors
June 12, 2015 09:14 AM

Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced a revised version of the Care Planning Act (S. 1549) on June 10, 2015.  The Care Planning Act was first introduced in August 2013 as S. 1439 and was designed to give individuals with serious illness the tools with which to make more informed choices about their care, and the power to have those choices honored. 

“This bill takes a patient-centered approach by making sure more information is available to patients and their families, and by ensuring that patients have an opportunity to discuss their treatment options, plan for their future care, and make their choices known,” Sen. Warner said. 

“In the last several years, some have deliberately  chosen to misrepresent the purpose of care planning services to frighten people and to score cheap political points. It’s about making sure that your doctors, your hospital, and your family know what choices you have made about your care. If a patient prefers to explore every possible treatment option, that choice will be respected. And if an individual prefers a different approach after informed consultations with their health team, their family and others, those choices should be documented and honored too. The important thing is being able to make that decision and trust that it will be respected.”

“I’m proud to join Sen. Warner in introducing the Care Planning Act today to provide individuals who have been diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening illness and their loved ones an opportunity to have face-to-face conversations with their doctors, nurses and religious advisors to develop plan for care,” said Sen. Isakson. “I know from my own family’s experience that having a plan makes a world of difference in ensuring a high quality of life during a loved one’s last days. I encourage my colleagues to support this legislation because it will go a long way in honoring patients’ wishes and empowering people to take charge of their own health care.” 

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) strongly endorses the Care Planning Act, and encourages hospice stakeholders to ask their Senators to cosponsor the legislation.  NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris commented: “The Care Planning Act would provide much needed assistance to individuals with serious health conditions by giving them access to more information about potential treatment options and ensuring that the course of treatment they arrive at is consistent with their personal goals, values and preferences.  The benefit envisioned by the Act embodies key elements -- including use of an interdisciplinary team and allowing for a series of discussions with a variety of experts -- that have proven tremendously effective in empowering individuals to make deliberate and thoughtful decisions on the course of care that is right for THEM.   The Care Planning Act would remove some of the overwhelming confusion and anxiety that so often accompany health care decision making, and assure that an individual’s chosen treatment plan is communicated among care providers.  We wholeheartedly endorse this important legislation, and commend Senators Warner and others for their efforts.”

In addition to Sens. Warner and Isakson, Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have signed on as original cosponsors of the legislation.

NAHC has created a Legislative Action Center campaign that allows individuals the ability to urge their Senators to join Sens. Warner and Isakson as cosponsors of the Care Planning Act.  Please contact your Senators to cosponsor the Care Planning Act by clicking here.

The Care Planning Act, would create a new Medicare Part B “Planning Services” benefit for individuals with serious or life threatening illnesses that offers the individual the option to discuss, with members of an interdisciplinary team (IDT), details related to their disease and its progression, the range of treatment options, and the individual’s goals of care and values.  It is anticipated that the planning services benefit would be provided through a single or series of discussions with one or more members of the IDT (comprised of a physician, a RN, a social worker, and one pastoral or other counselor). Under the benefit a care plan would be established that reflects the individual’s choices for care, and the planning services provider would be responsible for communicating documentation to the patient’s care providers that conveys the patient’s care preferences, communicates an actionable plan of care, and is in a form that is recognized by state or local law so that other care providers can act on it. 

The legislation includes additional provisions which would:

  • Direct the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovations (CMMI) to conduct an Advanced Illness Coordination Services Demonstration under which wrap-around home-based services would be provided to beneficiaries in need of assistance with two or more progressive disease-related activities of daily living (ADLs);
  • Direct the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to develop quality measures that measure alignment between the individual’s goals, values, and preferences, the documented plan, treatment delivered, and outcomes;
  • Increase awareness of care planning through innovative communication resources;
  • Provide grants to develop materials and maintain a web site with information about advance care planning, portable treatment orders, palliative care, hospice, and planning services;
  • Direct HHS to include advance care planning information in the Medicare & You handbook;
  • Create a default standard to focus providers on a patient’s treatment preferences when the patient is unable to communicate and preferences are not recorded on a legally-enforceable document; and
  • Require health care providers to assure that care plans made while an individual receives care are appropriately documented prior to discharge and sent to appropriate providers and facilities.

Following is a preliminary list of organizations that have endorsed the Care Planning Act:

  • AARP
  • AARP – Virginia
  • Alliance for Aging Research
  • Alzheimer's Foundation
  • AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine
  • American Association for Long Term Care Nursing
  • American Geriatrics Society
  • American Health Care Association
  • American Heart Association
  • Augusta Health
  • Cambia Health Solutions and the Cambia Foundation
  • Capital Caring
  • Caregiver Action Network
  • Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness, Altarum Institute
  • Coalition to Transform Advanced Care
  • Compassion and Choices
  • Connected Health Resources
  • Dementia Action Alliance
  • Emory University Woodruff Health Sciences Center
  • Essential Hospitals
  • Good Samaritan Hospice
  • Home Healthcare Hospice and Community Services
  • Latino Alzheimer's & Memory Disorders Alliance (LAMDA)
  • Latinos Against Alzheimer's
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
  • National Association for Home Care & Hospice
  • National Association of Activity Professionals
  • National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration/Long Term Care, Inc.
  • National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care
  • National Council on Aging
  • National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)
  • National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
  • National Partnership for Hospice Innovation
  • National Transitions of Care Coalition
  • Parkinson's Action Network
  • Second Wind Dreams
  • SeniorSherpa
  • Sentara Rockingham Memorial Health Center
  • The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  • Union for Reform Judaism
  • University of Virginia Health System
  • USAgainst Alzheimer’s
  • Visiting Nurse Associations of America



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