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Testimonials

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. 

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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.

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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

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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 element...it’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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Former President Bill Clinton

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Jim Comer

Speaker | Author | Speech Coach

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Jim Comer

With more than 25 years as a professional speaker, speechwriter and speech coach, Jim dazzles audiences and connects with groups large and small with his warm blend of humor, real-life experiences and poignant messages. An author of two nationally published books — including “When Roles Reverse: A Guide to Parenting Your Parents” — Jim speaks internationally on communication skills and his 14-year journey of caregiving for aging parents.

Jim worked as an actor in New York, appeared on seven quiz shows including Jeopardy, wrote jokes for Bob Hope and Joan Rivers and articles for the opinion pages of The New York Times and Washington Post. One of his books, How to Survive a Roommate, landed him on the Today Show with Jane Pauley. Jim worked as a speech coach and writer for Fortune 500 companies before relocating to Texas where he established Comer Communications.

In 1996, his life took a sudden detour when he quit his job and moved back to Texas after 30 years to care for his parents. This life-changing choice led to a rediscovery of real family values and the writing of “When Roles Reverse: A Guide to Parenting Your Parents” in dedication to his parents and with the hope that he might help others to be better prepared when it’s their turn.

Jim’s speeches, book and video help others learn from his difficult, demanding and often hilarious experiences, and encourages families to plan ahead and talk candidly about these difficult life decisions. The only surviving child, with a limited circle of close family members, Jim learned the hard way that adult children can handle the challenges of caregiving and find great joy in being there for their parents.


Travis Mills

Retired United States Army Staff Sergeant of the 82nd Airborne

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Retired United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills

Retired United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne is a recalibrated warrior, motivational speaker, actor, author and an advocate for veterans and amputees. Travis’s forthcoming book, Tough as They Come, will be on sale in bookstores everywhere on October 27, 2015. Despite losing portions of both arms and legs from an IED while on active duty in Afghanistan, Travis continues to overcome life’s challenges, breaking physical barriers and defying odds. Travis lives by his motto:

“Never give up. Never quit.”

On April 10, 2012, United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne was critically injured on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan by an IED (improvised explosive device) while on patrol, losing portions of both legs and both arms. He is one of only five quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive his injuries.

Thanks to his amazing strength, courage, an incredible will to live, the heroic actions of the men in his unit, the prayers of thousands, and all the healthcare providers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, near Washington D.C., Travis remains on the road to recovery. Every day is a battle, but Travis continues to astound friends and family alike with his progress and with his amazing spirit. SSG Travis Mills is a genuine American hero, and for his incredible sacrifice, we are forever in his debt.

In September 2013, Travis founded the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit organization, formed to benefit and assist wounded and injured veterans.

Travis also founded the Travis Mills Group, LLC where he consults with and speaks to companies and organizations nationwide inspiring all to overcome life’s challenges and adversity.


James F. Parker

Retired Former CEO of Southwest Airlines on all things customer service

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James F. Parker

Jim Parker is a lawyer by trade, having received both his undergraduate and law degrees from The University of Texas. After serving as law clerk to a federal judge and as an Assistant Attorney General of Texas, Jim joined the San Antonio law firm of Oppenheimer, Rosenberg, Kelleher, and Wheatley. As luck would have it, one of the co-founders of that law firm, Herb Kelleher, also co-founded a small Texas airline called Southwest, and Jim soon stumbled into the airline industry. After serving as outside counsel for Southwest for seven years, Jim became General Counsel for 15 years, and ultimately served as Southwest’s CEO for three years.
 
During Jim’s tenure as CEO, Southwest was named as the most admired airline, and one of the three most admired companies in America by Fortune magazine; Airline of the Year by Air Transport World magazine; and one of the World’s Most Socially Responsible Companies by Global Finance magazine. Jim was also named co-CEO of the Year in 2001 by Morningstar.com, and was named to Institutional Investor’s list of Best CEO’s in America in 2004. Jim’s proudest accomplishment, however, comes from the fact that Southwest Airlines was able to protect the jobs of all of its employees, with no furloughs or pay cuts in the aftermath of 9/11, while also remaining profitable every year and, in fact, every quarter during his tenure as CEO. Jim is presently retired from the airline industry, and serves on the Board of Directors of the successful Texas Roadhouse restaurant company, and also serves on the Advisory Council for the MIT Sloan Business School Leadership Center.

Jim is also the author of the book Do the Right Thing – How Dedicated Employees Produce Loyal Customers and Large Profits, published by Wharton School Publishing.

 

 

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