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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


10 Questions to Ask to Make Sure Your Home Health Care Technology Supports Growth

By Chris Abel


The roughly 75 million Americans who make up the baby boomer generation are shaking things up once again — this time in the health care arena. According to a report from the Congressional Budget Office, by 2050, one-fifth of the total U.S. population will be 65 or older. That growth in the elderly population will bring a corresponding increase in the number of people with functional and cognitive limitations. On average, about one-third of people age 65 or older report functional limitations; among people age 85 or older, about two-thirds report functional limitations.

Who is caring for these individuals? Not nursing home staff. According to data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, or MCBS, the elderly nursing home population has declined over the past 10 years; more elderly people are living in residential care facilities and taking advantage of in-home health care services. The baby boomers are leading the charge to maintain their freedom and independence as they age in place.

That’s why, in a recent National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) annual meeting, keynote speaker Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) highlighted the importance of home health care. “The home health care industry,” he noted, “will become the de facto solution for many as our aging population requires more care.”

NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris agrees that home care and hospice are poised to play a key role in the years ahead. He has lobbied Congress for more funding for home- and community-based care so providers can invest in technology that will increase their patients’ quality of care.

But what is this technology? I’ve worked with a variety of these organizations and they have indicated that the silver bullet — “the technology” — is actually the software system that drives the organization’s business, commonly referred to as an electronic medical record (EMR) system or a home care software solution. In fact, several home health care companies have engaged Optimal Networks to research, vet, and implement new EMR solutions that help the companies to better manage clients, referrals, caregiver schedules, payroll, and more.

“This is a unique time for home health care organizations, a time to capitalize on growing demand, function more efficiently, and better serve clients,” said Heinan Landa, Optimal’s CEO.

Home health care organizations often make five common mistakes when it comes to business-driving technology:

  1. Trying to work around the confines of their existing system, which makes for confusion and inefficiency
  2. Using a system that is too simple because they are not aware of the comprehensive software options out there
  3. Failing to dedicate time to the process — and to bring the right consultants in
  4. Thinking that it is just an “IT” change, as opposed to an operational and procedural shift
  5. Failing to understand that a new system will not work with old processes

In fact, part of the new system evaluation and implementation process is assessing how you currently do business to expose inefficiencies that can be rectified.

To that end, if you are considering a new EMR system or home care software solution for your organization, below are 10 questions you should ask yourself to start the process:

  1. How difficult is it for you to keep track of caregiver in-services and certifications?
  2. How long does it take you or your staff to reconcile the schedule each week?
  3. Are you finding inefficiencies in intake, billing, and payroll systems?
  4. How easy does your current system make it for you to see caregiver arrival times or notify you if they were late for appointments?
  5. How does your current system help you with HIPAA compliance initiatives?
  6. How easy is it for you to see changes in client status?
  7. How easy does your system make it for you to see if caregivers are completing activities of daily living (ADLs) on site?
  8. Can you easily export data out of your current system to inform business decisions (i.e., the number of hours a week you are billing, the number of caregivers with specific certifications who are available within a given week, and the referral sources that are most profitable)?
  9. Do you have the ability to mass text your caregivers from your current system?
  10. Are you able to restrict permissions and access within your current system?

Last Word

Home health care organizations will see unprecedented growth in the next decade. Is your organization ready to take advantage of the growing demand for the services you provide? A robust EMR system or home care software solution can provide you with a competitive advantage — and help to strategically manage your growth. In fact, according to our client data, in all cases in which a current software system has been evaluated and business processes investigated, implementation of a new system has increased operational efficiencies and productivity within 30-60 days of implementation. More efficient processes translate to increased capacity, profitability, and, more importantly, better overall client care.


About the Author: Chris Abel is the Manager of Consulting Services at Optimal Networks, Inc., a Rockville, MD-based IT company that works with CEOs to provide strategic IT consulting. Contact Chris at 240-499-7908 or at






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