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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

US Senate Aging Committee Highlights Importance of Diabetes Funding and Research

July 17, 2015 09:14 AM

The US Senate Committee on Aging held a hearing on Wednesday, July 15, to discuss the importance of funding and research to combat diabetes. The hearing, “Diabetes Research: Improving Lives on the Path to a Cure,”included witnesses from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Missouri School of Medicine, as well as individuals with firsthand experience living with Type 1 diabetes.

Also in attendance at the hearing were 160 delegates from every state participating in the Children’s Congress of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The children travelled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for diabetes funding and research. Three of the children testified at the hearing about their experiences living with diabetes and the importance of continuous glucose monitoring technologies in managing their conditions. One of the witnesses was a teenager from Casco, Maine, who recently broke a 39-year-old national high school long-jump record by jumping 22 feet, 5 inches.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), who chairs the Senate Aging Committee and is the founder of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, emphasized the importance of diabetes funding and research. She highlighted both the costs associated with diabetes, including the financial burdens it puts on individuals, the health care system and Medicare. “I’ve learned a lot about the difficulties and heartaches that this diseases causes for so many American families as they await a cure,” she said. “Diabetes is a lifelong condition that does not discriminate. It affects people of every age, race and nationality. Moreover, diabetes costs the United States and estimated $245 billion a year, a cost that is projected to more than double by the year 2020. It also accounts for one out of three Medicare dollars. In fact, medical costs for Americans with diabetes are more than double those incurred by those without diabetes.”

Collins praised the increase in funding for diabetes research from $310 million in 1997 to over $1 billion in 2015, which has allowed for technological innovations such as advances in the artificial pancreas and continuous glucose monitors (CGM). Collins said technology has been critical in helping individuals control their disease and maintain qualities of life.

While applauding the innovations, Collins expressed concern that Medicare beneficiaries are being denied coverage for CGM. “I was surprised and troubled to learn that insulin dependent Medicare beneficiaries are being denied coverage for continuous glucose monitors,” she said. “Even though 95 percent of private insurers cover continuous glucose monitors, Medicare does not and that’s why I’ve joined Senator [Jean] Shaheen [D-NH], Co-Chair of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, in introducing legislation to require Medicare to cover this important device.” Senators Collins and Shaheen introduced the Medicare CGM Access Act (S. 804) in March. More information about the bill is available here.

Later in the hearing, Collins asked Griffin Rodgers, MD, Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease at NIH whether Medicare officials had consulted with NIH before making the determination on GCM coverage. Rodgers indicated he was unaware of any such communication. “I think it’s absolutely incredible that Medicare officials did not consult with you, the foremost expert that we have at NIH overseeing this research, nor did they consult with the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], which approved the device, before deciding that it was just a precautionary or safety device and therefore was considered non-medical,” Collins said. She added that, based on the witness testimony, the monitors are indeed medical, life-saving technologies.

An additional effort Collins cited was legislation enacted earlier this year to extend the special diabetes program through September 2017, including an additional $100 million each year for Type 1 diabetes research. “While we’re making progress in the battle against diabetes, this is no time to take our foot off the accelerator,” she said.

All of the senators expressed particular gratitude for the children who had travelled to the nation’s capital to make their case for diabetes research and funding. “I’m so proud of all of you,” said Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), “because you’re learning firsthand that you can make a difference. And you’re here in Washington because this is your government, and your government needs to listen to you about what you’re living with and what you’re needs are and the incredible gaping hole we have in this country.”

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) supports efforts to improve the early diagnosis and treatment of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. NAHC wants to make sure home health agencies are involved in the continued care and treatment of individuals with this disease.

More information about the hearing, including the witnesses and their testimonies, is available here.  




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