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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

Zika—Implications for Home Care and Hospice

By Barbara B. Citarella RN, MS, CHCE, CHS-V RBC Limited Healthcare & Management Consultants
August 4, 2016 11:25 AM

In an effort to prevent Zika virus and the terrible birth defects it causes, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has begun a national clinical study of a vaccine for Zika. The experimental vaccine was developed earlier this year. The study will be conducted at three sites.

Zika virus disease continues to dominate news headlines as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in an unprecedented move, issued a travel warning advising pregnant women and their partners against travel to specific areas in Miami. To date we have 15 cases of Zika virus in Florida. The cases are likely the first known occurrence of local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the continental United States. Zika was first identified in 1947 in Uganda. There is no approved vaccine for Zika. Treatment is supportive with rest, fluids, and antipyretics.

Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus), but can also be spread during sex by a person infected with Zika. There is also an indication that Zika can spread through blood transfusions. It is still undetermined as to the possibility of transmission through breast milk, organ or tissue transplantation. Currently, animals do not appear to be involved in the transmission of the disease.

There is still one case in Utah in which the mode of transmission has not yet been determined. This particular case involves a family member caring for his infected father.

Most people infected with Zika are asymptomatic. The illness is usually mild. Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. There has been rare association with Guillain-Barre syndrome. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect of the brain called microcencephaly and other severe fetal birth defects. Long term effects, if any, of Zika are not yet known.


In home care and hospice the reality is, much like H1N1, some of our patients may have Zika virus without being symptomatic. It is imperative for agencies to reinforce hand hygiene, the use of standard precautions, and the use of personal protective equipment. As with many of these new diseases, since travel is a contributing factor in the spread, a complete travel history of our patients and, if possible, of their family is vital. If a patient is suspected of possibly having Zika, providers should contact the local department of health for guidance. Zika is a nationally notifiable disease. Some local and state health departments may have specific guidance for their geographic location.

Patients and family members should be advised about travel in areas where Zika is present. The CDC has great teaching tools and handouts. Agencies should instruct caregivers, especially family care givers, to use standard precautions, wash hands frequently and use personal protective equipment (PPE) as indicated. PPE will depend on the patient’s care needs.


Agencies should provide education to all employees about Zika virus. Employee travel history (as with Ebola) is important as many of our employees travel out of the country for vacation and to visit family. Providers should monitor employee illnesses for possible signs and symptoms of Zika especially when working in an area at risk for Zika. This is becoming more crucial as Zika spreads throughout the United States.

Home care and hospice providers should stay current on the Zika situation as it seems to be changing rather quickly. Please go to your state website frequently and to the CDC website for information and updates. Place Zika informational posters in conspicuous spots throughout your offices.

Educate both patient and employee concerning:

  • Eliminating and avoiding standing water;
  • Avoiding areas with a lot of high grasses, leaves, wooded areas;
  • Use only EPA approved insect repellent as appropriate;
  • Hand washing;
  • Use of condoms or abstaining from sexual activity for those diagnosed with the virus.

Remember this is a newly emerging disease with significant birth defects and we are learning more about it everyday. These mosquitoes bite during the daytime, therefore day long protection in areas identified with Zika is necessary.

Infection prevention is imperative.

Editor's Note: NAHC has set up a page for the Infection Prevention and Practice Group to include resources for the home care and hospice community as well as emergency preparedness documents. Please visit it here for the most recent updates.




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