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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

Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Health Information Blocking

July 29, 2015 08:35 AM

On Thursday, July 23, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee convened a hearing titled, “Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology: Information Blocking and Potential Solutions.” The hearing focused on the practice of deliberate information blocking by providers and vendors as a barrier to the adoption of health information technology.

“Information blocking could loosely be defined as something or someone intentionally interfering with access to my personal electronic health information,” said Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the committee. “It might be physicians and hospitals blocking patient information from being shared with competing physicians and hospitals to keep patients. Or it might be electronic health records vendors blocking information so they can increase their market share.”

Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) said that while there are some legitimate reasons for withholding patient information, she is concerned about the practice of deliberate information blocking, saying it is “completely unacceptable” and that it “threatens to get in the way of progress we need to make to continue to improve our healthcare system.”

“When patients and providers have more convenient access to better health information, they are more equipped to make truly life-changing or even life-saving decisions,” Murray said.

Possible solutions proposed by witnesses to address the issue of information blocking included more focus on highlighting and defining the issue, greater clarity with regards to the expectations for electronic health records in facilitating interoperability, and expanded use of value-based payment models.

Thursday’s hearing was part of a series of HELP Committee hearings specifically addressing the topic of improving health information technology. Chairman Alexander previously said the Committee hopes to identify “five of six” proposals improving the adoption of electronic health records to include in the 21st Century Cures Act later this year (see previous NAHC Report article here).

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6) in June (see previous NAHC Report article here). While the Senate has not yet released a companion version of the legislation, it plans to do so in the coming months. Alexander has stated that he is seeking modifications to improve the legislation, such as changes to electronic health records.

Alexander indicated that the Senate version of the legislation may not be released until near the end of the year, but that he is optimistic about the bill’s chances. “With the kind of support it has now, and that I expect it to have at the end of the year, I fully expect it to be the kind of legislation that could be considered by Congress even in an election year,” said Alexander, according to the Washington Examiner.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) supports efforts to remove barriers to and provide assistance for the adoption of health information technology. NAHC believes Congress should work with the Administration to provide financial incentives for home care and hospice providers to adopt and use electronic health records. As the Senate develops the 21st Century Cures legislation, NAHC will provide recommendations based on its stated legislative priorities and carefully monitor any developments. 

For more information about the hearing, including the list of witnesses and the testimony, please click here.




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