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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



Speakers at the 2014 Annual Meeting & Exposition


Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 3:00pm



Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Whether he’s taking on powerful interests, listening to constituents at one of his famous town hall meetings or standing up for Oregonians on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Ron Wyden is an effective leader on the issues that matter most.  As the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel recently put it: "He's best described as a wonk, a workhorse, a doer.” 

Oregonians know Ron as a senator who listens.  Always citing the need to “throw open the doors of government for Oregonians,” he holds an open-to-all town hall meeting in each of Oregon’s 36 counties each year.  Thus far he has held more than 600 meetings.  Wyden’s dedication to hearing all sides of an issue and looking for common sense, non-partisan solutions has won him trust on both sides of the aisle and put him at the heart of nearly every debate.   In 2011, the Almanac of American Politics described Wyden as having “displayed a genius for coming up with sensible-sounding ideas no one else had thought of and making the counter-intuitive political alliances that prove helpful in passing bills.”  The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein wrote: “The country has problems.  And Ron Wyden has comprehensive, bipartisan proposals for fixing them.”

Wyden believes the nation’s biggest challenges can only be solved by what he calls “principled bipartisanship,” solutions that allow all parties to stay true to their respective principles and celebrate agreements.  Following that approach has helped him author more than 150 bipartisan bills and assemble unprecedented bipartisan coalitions on issues such as health care, infrastructure and tax reform.

His relentless defiance of the national security community’s abuse of secrecy forced the declassification of the CIA Inspector General’s 9/11 report, shut down the controversial Total Information Awareness program and put a spotlight on both the Bush and Obama Administration’s reliance on “secret law.”  To protect hard-working folks in the intelligence community and ensure informed public debate on national security issues, Wyden successfully fought to have controversial anti-leaks provisions removed from the latest intelligence authorization bill.

He has won countless awards for his pioneering role in establishing a free and open Internet, is known for his commitment to an open government, having authored the “Stand By Your Ad” law and the resolution ending Senate Secret Holds, and he has been routinely recognized as one of the Senate’s foremost health policy thinkers.  

Wyden serves on the Committees on Finance, Budget, Intelligence, and Energy and Natural Resources.  He is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Senator Wyden’s home is in Portland; he is married to Nancy Wyden, whom he wed in September 2005. He has five children: Adam, Lilly, Ava, William and Scarlett.


Giffords300pxHon. Gabby Giffords and Capt. Mark Kelly

Former US Representative Gabby Giffords has become known across the country for her resilience in the face of violence, and for her consensus-building leadership in Congress. She was first elected to Arizona's 8th Congressional District seat in 2006 and won re-elections in 2008 and 2010. Then, on January 8, 2011, a would-be assassin opened fire at a local event in Tucson, where Giffords was meeting with constituents. Six people were killed, and 13 others were injured in the attack. Among the injured was Giffords, who sustained a gunshot wound to the head and faced immediate neurosurgery to treat her life-threatening injuries.

Giffords resigned her Congressional seat in January 2012, choosing to focus on her continued recovery. She is the only woman serving in elected office in the history of The United States to be the target of an attempted assassination. Upon stepping down, she announced, "I will return, and we will work together for Arizona and this great country."

Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, founded Americans for Responsible Solutions as a way to encourage elected officials to stand up for both the 2nd amendment and safer communities by communicating directly with the constituents that elect them.

Mark Kelly is an American astronaut, retired US Navy Captain, best selling-author, prostate cancer survivor, and an experienced naval aviator who flew combat missions during the Gulf War. As an astronaut, he flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He has also commanded Space Shuttle Discovery and is one of only two individuals who have visited the International Space Station on four different occasions.

Giffords and Kelly authored a best-selling memoir, Gabby, and in it the couple shares their story of hope and resilience with the world. The inspirational memoir has topped multiple best-seller lists, including the New York Times, the Wall Street JournalUSA Today, and Amazon. They are the first couple to be honored as Glamour magazine’s “Couple of the Year” in 2013.


Monday, October 20, 2014 at 10:30am

RicEdelman_Headshot_smRic Edelman

Ric Edelman has been three times ranked the #1 independent financial advisor in the nation by Barron’s. Edelman’s firm, Edelman Financial Services, has 35 offices nationwide and manages nearly $13 billion for 24,000 clients. He is a member of the Financial Advisor Hall of Fame sponsored by Research magazine and a member of CNBC's Digital Financial Advisors Council.

Edelman and his firm have focused on small investors rather than the wealthier investors generally sought after by Wall Street firms. He has long concentrated on helping caring professions such as schoolteachers, firemen, police officers, those in the armed services - and especially nurses. Edelman explains that the other caring professionals receive pensions upon retirement but not nurses. "I really feel as if someone needs to help nurses who are underpaid and overworked. We want to provide them with the financial education and advice they need so they can have a bright future," Edelman said.

Edelman is a New York Times bestselling author. Two of his books, The Truth About Money and The Lies About Money have been selected as “book of the year" by the Institute of Financial Literacy. Edelman’s latest book, The Truth About Retirement Plans and IRAs, is a #1 national bestseller. Some one million copies of his books are in print and they have been translated into several languages.

Edelman is perhaps best known as a radio and TV host whose programs have aired for the past 23 years. His radio program reaches 70 markets with more than 1 million listeners weekly, and his TV show airs on more than 200 public television shows nationwide. Edelman also publishes a 16-page monthly newsletter and offers extensive financial education at

Edelman is well known for his philanthropic activities. He served five years on the board of the United Way of the National Capital Area, including two years as chairman. He serves on the Southeast Board of The Boys and Girls Clubs of America and is a member of The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington Foundation Board. He and his wife Jean are benefactors of the Inova Edelman Center for Nursing at Inova Health Foundation and most recently the new Inova Center for Advanced Medical Simulation. They are also supporters of Make-a-Wish Foundation, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and many other charities.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 10:30am

Rob_Portman_200pxSenator Rob Portman (R-OH)

Rob Portman is a United States Senator from the state of Ohio. He has been a long-time advocate for hospice and home care and together with Ben Cardin (D-MD) (now a U.S. Senator) helped write amendments that created and modernized the hospice benefit. Portman serves on the Committees on Finance (oversees Medicare and Medicaid), Budget, Homeland Security & Government Affairs and Energy and Natural Resources. He is also Vice Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and has been mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016.

Portman grew up in a small business family, where he learned early on the value of hard work, leadership, and fiscal responsibility. When he was young, his dad, Bill Portman, borrowed money to start Portman Equipment Company, where Portman and his brother and sister all worked while growing up. His father, and then his brother, built the family business from a small forklift truck dealership with five employees, with his mom as the bookkeeper, to one that employed more than 300 people. Portman became a lawyer and developed his own private practice, representing Portman Equipment Company and other small businesses. In 1993, he was a partner in the Cincinnati law firm of Graydon, Head and Ritchey when he was elected to Congress. He was proud to serve the Second District for twelve years, and in seven elections, he never received less than seventy percent of the vote.

Portman has earned a reputation as a serious leader who focused on results. He was actively involved in crafting and promoting the welfare reform efforts as a member of the committee that wrote the legislation, and he was an advocate of the balanced budget that passed in 1997. Portman gained the respect of both Republican and Democratic colleagues through his successful, bipartisan legislative initiatives, including several measures he authored to increase retirement savings, reform the IRS and add over fifty new taxpayer rights, curb unfunded mandates, reduce taxes, and expand drug prevention and land conservation efforts.

In 2005, Portman was asked to serve as the United States Trade Representative. Following his accomplishments as Trade Representative, he was asked to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Portman was born and raised in Cincinnati, where he lives today with his wife Jane, and their three children, Jed, Will and Sally.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 10:30am

Rauch-Doug-smallDoug Rauch

Doug Rauch spent 31 years with Trader Joe’s Company, the last 14 years as a president, growing the business from a small, nine-store chain in Southern California to a nationally-acclaimed retail success story with more than 340 stores in 30 states. How did Trader Joe’s, a company that started as a 7-Eleven knockoff, become the hottest retailer in America? The answer lies in its innovation. Rauch developed the company’s prized buying philosophy, created its unique private label food program, and wrote and executed the business plan for expanding Trader Joe’s nationally. He also championed the development and execution of Trader Joe’s University and the prized customer experience orientation. He is exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau.

Through his experience at the popular grocer and Daily Table (where he developed an innovative way to provide both grab-n-go meals and basic groceries at pennies on the dollar), Rauch has learned to be a master of innovation. In multimedia presentations filled with great stories and eye-opening case studies, he shares how to create a self-sustaining culture of innovation, build a brand in a competitive marketplace, and lead with a purpose.

An Innovative Solution to the Hunger Problem. Rauch retired from Trader Joe’s in 2008. He is currently CEO and co-chairman of Conscious Capitalism, which looks at how four specific tenets—higher purpose, stakeholder integration, conscious leadership, and conscious culture—can simultaneously build stronger businesses and improve society as a whole.

He was also a recent senior fellow at the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative, where he focused on the challenges of food waste, hunger, and obesity. Out of this fellowship he became the founder/president of Daily Table, a unique, nonprofit retail concept designed to bring affordable nutrition to the underserved in our cities. About 40 percent of our food just gets thrown out, and up to 90 percent of that loss is due to confusion over expiration dates or cosmetic blemishes. By recovering the excess, wholesome food about to be disposed by grocers and food service, Rauch has developed an innovative way to provide both grab-n-go meals and basic groceries at pennies on the dollar.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 8:30am


Adam Darkins, MD, MPHM, FRCS

Learn from a leading physician about the convergence of medical devices and connected care technologies and the role it can play in improving patient management. Dr. Adam Darkins will give his unique perspective on the future of healthcare with enhanced patient management facilitated by technology-enabled solutions. It’s a subject on which Dr. Darkins has extensive expertise since he leads the development of Medtronic’s Enterprise Health Service strategies pioneering work in this area. He serves as the executive thought leader and is responsible for Integrated Health Services strategy development and execution. Dr. Darkins is the former leader of the National Telehealth Programs for US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Under his leadership VA developed the clinical, technology and business underpinnings to successfully implement and sustain enterprise-wide telehealth-based services that have demonstrably improved access to care for patients, reduced utilization of health care resources and are associated with very high levels of patient satisfaction. His work resulted in over 600,000 patients receiving telehealth-based care annually on dedicated national platforms, making VA a recognized national/international leader in the field. He envisioned VA's clinical enterprise videoconferencing network, a national telehealth platform with over 4,500 clinical videoconferencing end points providing services linking 151 VA hospitals, 600 community based outpatient clinics and offering IP-based video services directly into patient's homes.


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