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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

Foundation for Hospice and Homecare and NAHC Hold Press Conference on Miles Traveled Each Year By Home Care Nurses

Home Care Nurses, Aides and Therapists Travel 7.88 Billion Miles Annually to Ensure the Health Care and Freedom of 14 Million Patients in Their Homes
December 16, 2015 10:25 AM

NAHC President, Val J. Halamandaris opens the event.
Presenters included (l to r): Max Richtman, Eric Masters, Mark Begich, Val J. Halamandaris, Karen Thomas, Lisa Jean Long, Karen Marshall Thompson, Bill Dombi, Stephanie Crawford, and Lisa Harvey-McPherson

A new study released at a press conference on Tuesday, December 15, by the Foundation for Hospice and Homecare, an affiliate of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), has documented that nurses, therapists and home care aides who serve chronically ill, elderly and disabled patients drive nearly 8 billion miles each year. Annually serving over 14 million patients of all ages, the nation’s home care organizations provided more than 718 million home care visits in 2013.

The home care community is committed to supporting every person’s right to receive care in the setting of their choice. Home is far and away the preferred choice by patients of all ages, from children to the elderly, and it is a setting where high quality care is provided every day.

The estimated total number of miles driven by home care providers has increased significantly since the last report that, in 2006, the estimated miles driven in home care services was 4.76 billion. The increase in estimated miles over the succeeding seven years is primarily due to increases in Medicaid home care, Medicare home health growth, and Medicare hospice utilization. With 10,000 seniors turning 65 each day and the U.S. facing a growing shortage of physicians, the need for home health services will only increase.

“The sheer volume of miles driven by the employees of the nation’s home care and hospice agencies to reach patients with complex medical problems in their homes is astonishing,” said Val J. Halamandaris, President of NAHC. “The angels of home care cross all types of terrain, from crowded metropolitan streets to the dirt roads of frontier America, in all types of weather to provide care for the patients who depend on them – many of whom suffer from one or more chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other life threatening conditions.”

At the press conference, the panel stated that the study supports the following policy recommendations:

1) Establish unified federal telehomecare reimbursement. The valuable use of telehomecare technologies allows for the electronic collection and exchange of clinical information from a patient’s residence to nurses who monitor their well-being at a distance. These nurses are becoming widely known as “health traffic controllers.” Despite significant progress in the development and use of advanced telehomecare technologies, the absence of a uniform federal Medicaid and Medicare telehomecare guideline for comprehensive reimbursement, is creating barriers to more widespread adoption of telehomecare services. NAHC supports telehomecare as one of the many tools to provide better value and quality in home care, and would like Congress to establish federal reimbursement for these services.

2) Support training and recruitment of home care nurses and personal care assistants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, home health care services is the industry with the fastest growing employment projections. Federal funding is necessary to support the training of home health care workers, such as forgiving the student loans of nurses and aides who agree to work in rural and underserved areas.

3) Pass legislation extending the differential that Medicare pays for home health services for patients in rural and underserved areas for five more years. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) have introduced legislation (S. 2389) extending for five additional years the rural add-on payment for Medicare home health services, which expires at the end of 2017. The rural add-on supports the delivery of care in rural areas where home care workers often travel the longest distances to reach patients.

4) End the discrimination against home care by allowing non-physician practitioners to certify Medicare home health services. More and more Medicare beneficiaries rely on non-physician practitioners as their primary care provider, especially in rural regions of the nation. While Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants are currently able to certify Medicare coverage eligibility for nursing home care, they are not allowed to do the same for less costly home health care that enables beneficiaries to maintain independence in their homes. The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2015 (S. 578 / H.R. 1342) would allow Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants to order Medicare home health services, ensuring that our seniors and disabled Americans get the home health care they need in a timely manner while relieving primary care physicians of burdensome paperwork. The legislation currently has 43 cosponsors in the Senate and 169 cosponsors in the House.

5) Innovation is needed. Explore other innovations, such as driverless car technologies, to ease the burden on home care workers who drive long distances, and increase productivity by allowing them to continue working in between visits. Congress should also investigate ways to improve broadband in rural and underserved areas.

According to the study (available here), which is based on federal health care spending and utilization data and augmented by responses to a nationwide survey, home care nurses travel 21,589,041 miles per day. That means, in one day, home care nurses travel distances equivalent to:

  • 867 time around the earth (24,901 miles)
  • 45 round-trips to the moon (477,800 miles)
  • 461 times the total distance of the U.S. interstate highway system (46,876)
  • 7,465 trips across the contiguous U.S. at its widest point (2,892)

Annually, the 7.88 billion miles traveled by home care in 2013 is equivalent to:

  • 2.7 million trips across the contiguous U.S. at its widest point (2,892 miles)
  • 316,453 times around the earth (24,901 miles)
  • 17,462 round-trips to the moon (477,800 miles)
  • 164,383 times traveling the total distance of the U.S. interstate highway system (46,876 miles)
  • 42 round-trips to the sun (185.9 million miles)
  • 5 times further than the total distance driven by the Postal Service in 2013 (1.25 billion miles)
  • 8.6 times further than the total distance driven by FedEx per year (912 million miles)

Other noteworthy facts include:

  • The number of miles traveled by home care per year is greater than the total population of the world (7.4 billion people).
  • It would take 81.3 trillion dollar bills lined up to reach 7.88 billion miles.
  • Pluto is 4.67 billion miles away and it took nine years to travel there, while home care traveled that far in 7 months.
  • Halley’s Comet takes 75.3 years to travel 1.39 billion miles.
  • At the speed of light, it would take 11.7 hours to travel 7.88 billion miles, the distance traveled by home care each year.

Video footage of the press conference is available on the NAHC website (




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