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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

Senate Finance Committee Hearing: Senators Wyden and Warner Emphasize Care Planning Act and End of Life Issues with HHS Secretary Burwell

February 18, 2016 11:53 AM

On Thursday, February 11, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the President’s budget proposal for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and received testimony from HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell. During the hearing, Ranking Minority Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) emphasized the importance of the Care Planning Act (S. 1549) and end of life issues.

Last year, on June 10, 2015, Senator Warner along with Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced a revised version of the Care Planning Act (see previous NAHC Report article here).  First introduced in August 2013, the legislation 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.

Senator Warner discussed the need for the legislation at the hearing, adding that he and Senator Isakson have continued to receive broad bipartisan support. The cosponsors of the bill are equally represented by Republicans and Democrats, with three from each party. In addition to Senators Warner and Isakson, the cosponsors include Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Susan M. Collins (R-ME), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

“There’s not a member of the Senate that I have talked to that doesn’t have a personal story,” Senator Warner said. He spoke of his own experience with his mother who had Alzheimer’s for 11 years. Even as a “relatively well-informed citizen,” he said, his family did not have the conversations early on about care planning.

“This is an issue where the American people are candidly ahead of their elected officials,” Senator Warner said. “We still remain the only industrial nation in the world that hasn’t had this kind of adult conversation about care planning; about trying to make sure that issues around end of life are dealt with respectfully. But also recognize this is not about limiting choices but it’s about expanding choices.”

Senator Warner added that he was pleased that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) activated new codes to allow payment for advanced care planning discussions (see previous NAHC Report article here). “I was pleased to see that CMS introduced a payment form for physicians to have those kinds of conversations about advanced directives and POLSTs and the other legal entities that come out of those conversations. Those conversations should include family members, loved ones, and religious advisors.” Senator Warner said he is continuing to work with CMS “to make sure that these types of advanced directives can actually travel across state lines” so that the documentation is “built into your EMR.”

Secretary Burwell responded by saying that the leadership of Senator Warner, Senator Isakson and others has “helped create the space where we could go forward and make the changes that we have made in terms of the paying. We think that’s an incredibly important first step, but we know it is a first step and now the question is, how do you implement this so this is useful to the people and meets the goals and objectives that I know we share.”

Senator Wyden voiced his support for Warner’s efforts. “Senator Warner who along with Senator Isakson have really been in the vanguard of laying out some new policies to expand choices for end of life care,” he said. “What Senator Warner is talking about is—the centerpiece of end of life care should be about empowering patients and their families. And it is high time… Medicare Care Choices starts us down the path, but Senator Warner is absolutely right about several of the next steps, and I’m with you.”

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





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