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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 Hearing Focuses on Patient Access to Electronic Health Records

September 24, 2015 09:55 AM

On September 16, 2015, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing titled “Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology: Improving Care Through Patient Access to Their Records.” The hearing focused on improving the exchange of health information and patient’s access to their electronic health records.

While the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act became law in 2009 and included mandated reforms and investments in health information technology, major barriers to interoperability remain. Many have expressed concern about the meaningful use program contained in the legislation, which set the criteria for meaningful use of electronic health records and established incentives for qualifying providers. It also established penalties for failure to the achieve standards. The program excludes certain providers, such as home care and hospice providers, from receiving the incentives.

At the hearing, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) called for a delay of the final rules for stage three of the meaningful use program. Instead, he argued the requirements should be phased in.“Patients need an interoperable system that enables doctors and hospitals to share their electronic health records, but the government, doctors and hospitals need time to do it right,” Alexander said.  “Some hospitals have told me they are ‘terrified’ by the prospect of stage three.  It does not help patients to makes these massive changes fast and wrong.  It does help patients to do this deliberately and correctly so that hospitals and doctors embrace the changes instead of dread them.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also raised concerns with meaningful use, particularly about the need to improve patient access to their records.

These concerns were reiterated by the hearing witnesses. Raj M. Ratwani, a professor at Georgetown University Medical Center, said “the usability of electronic health records, patient portals, and personal health records remains subpar and is a significant challenge that we must overcome immediately.” Kathy Giusti, Founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, said there needs to be a greater focus on patient engagement: “The ability to understand, integrate, aggregate and analyze EHRs [electronic health records] is on the critical path to improving outcomes and accelerating cures.” Eric Dishman, a Fellow and General Manager of the Health & Life Sciences Group at Intel encouraged providers not to delay the transition to adopting Meaningful Use standards. He noted that current EHRs don’t include imaging, genomic, consumer health, claims and other important information, and thus a common standard is needed to “drive towards innovation” in EHRs.

In discussing patient access to health information, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) raised concerns about the lack of reliable internet access in certain, particularly rural, parts of Maine and the rest of the country.“Maine is the oldest state in the nation,” Collins said. “There are parts of our state where Internet access is simply not available at all…it’s one thing to say patients should be accessing their portal…it’s a lot harder if you are an elderly person without a computer living in rural Maine where access to the Internet is very limited or non existent…”

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 and also encourage the exchange of health information electronically between hospitals, physicians and home health agencies. 

For more information about the hearing, including witness testimony, please click here.




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