Skip to Main Content
National Association for Home Care & Hospice
Twitter Facebook Pintrest


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


A Bipartisan Spirit of Caring on Capitol Hill: Governors Spouses Meet at Frederick Douglass Museum & Caring Hall of Fame

By Richard D. Brennan, Jr.


Governors’ spouses have a tradition of helping others. So does the Caring Institute, a national nonprofit that is devoted to caring, integrity, and public service. Recently, the two groups came together when the National Governors Association Governors’ Spouses Program held its winter meeting at the Frederick Douglass Museum & Caring Hall of Fame. The meeting provided a chance for the spouses to learn about the museum from Richard D. Brennan, NAHC  deputy directir of government affairs and former Caring Institute managing director, and hear from Mike Curtin, CEO of DC Central Kitchen. Curtin assumed leadership of the nonprofit from Robert Egger, a former Caring Award winner and founder of the kitchen. This renowned Washington institution is America’s leader in reducing hunger with recycled food, training unemployed adults for culinary careers, serving healthy school meals, and rebuilding urban food systems through social enterprise.

DC Central Kitchen’s success in combating hunger and creating opportunity earned Egger induction into the Caring Hall of Fame. Its achievements also hold vital lessons for governors’ spouses, who have long been active in raising awareness about the nation’s most pressing social concerns. Taking advantage of their unique positions, governors’ spouses spearhead statewide initiatives and collaborate with other community groups or national organizations to improve the well-being of people who live in their states. They also foster effective partnerships among the public and private sectors and a diverse mix of organizations in communities across the country and the world. The achievements of these initiatives and public education campaigns — whether in support of early childhood immunization, family literacy, volunteerism, or housing for needy families — would not be possible without the leadership and commitment of our nation’s governors’ spouses.

In recognition of their vital contributions, the National Governors Association Spouses Program was formally established in 1985. The program provides spouses with a chance to trade experiences with colleagues and share advice about their unique responsibilities and concerns. It also provides them with opportunities to learn about the latest research, trends, and activities in their areas of interest. Each summer and winter, the chair of the Spouses’ Leadership Committee identifies an issue or set of issues to serve as a focus for the Spouses’ Program sessions. In recent years, topics of concern have included wellness, preventive health issues, and physical fitness, early childhood learning and development, prevention of domestic violence and child abuse, environmental conservation, and leadership development. The focus of this year’s program was “Changing Lives and Transforming Communities,” the title of Mr. Curtin’s address.

Curtin told the spouses how DC Central Kitchen uses food to strengthen our community. Through job training, healthy food distribution, and local farm partnerships, DC Central Kitchen offers path-breaking solutions to poverty, hunger, and poor health. Since its founding in 1989, Curtin explained, DC Central Kitchen has prepared 25 million meals for its low-income and at-risk neighbors in Washington, DC. That’s a lot of meals, but you shouldn’t mistake the program for a soup kitchen, Curtin said. The 5,000 meals they dish out every day are loaded onto a fleet of trucks and distributed at little or no cost to nearly 100 homeless shelters, transitional homes, and nonprofit organizations, saving them money and nourishing their clients.

These meals go out with a message of hope, Curtin explained, because DC Central Kitchen offers a rigorous culinary job training program for unemployed men and women who want to replace homelessness, addiction, and incarceration with new careers and new lives. DC Central knows food can do so much more than fill stomachs. So its mission is to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities.

This core of meal distribution and job training fuels a host of other innovative programs at DC Central Kitchen, Curtin went on to say. The Food Recycling program turns tons of leftover surplus food into thousands of balanced meals every day. And each morning, the First Helping Team hits the streets to provide warm meals and social services to homeless residents of DC’s Wards 7 and 8.

To help fund these programs and create good jobs for its culinary graduates, DC Central is breaking new ground in the world of social enterprise. Its School Food Program serves 4,200 locally sourced, scratch-cooked meals to 2,000 low-income DC children, proving that school meals can be nutritious, affordable, and sustainable all at once. And the Healthy Corners program delivers fresh produce and healthy snacks to 30 corner stores in DC’s “food deserts,” where access to nutritious food options is limited. This smart, business-like approach to doing good allowed DC Central Kitchen to earn more than 60 percent of its income through social enterprise in 2012.

And the success of this model isn’t limited to the District of Columbia, Curtin pointed out. Through the Campus Kitchens Project, DC Central Kitchen empowers 5,000 student volunteers every year to implement its model in 31 communities across the United States. At DC Central Kitchen, they believe waste is wrong – whether it’s leftover food, local produce, or human potential, Curtin explained. They know DC Central Kitchen has everything it needs to defeat hunger, poverty, and poor health: resources, commitment, and creativity.

DC Central Kitchen also has support from caring people like Frederick Douglass whose spirit still lives in the Frederick Douglass Museum & Caring Hall of Fame. This was the first Washington, DC, home of the great abolitionist, Brennan said, as he gave NGA spouses a tour of the house, filled with Douglass memorabilia. The former home of the silver-tongued orator and one-time slave is at 320 A Street NE, just a block from the U.S. Supreme Court. Stroll two more blocks and you’ll reach the U.S. Capitol where Douglass often went to lobby for civil rights.

The quest for justice brought him to the District, Brennan told the NGA spouses. By then he had earned renown for advising Lincoln during the civil war and recruiting black soldiers for the Union Army. Though the war ended slavery, it didn’t end oppression, so Douglass continued to promote the progress of blacks. He was editing a newspaper on racial issues when he bought the charming Queen Anne townhouse with its elegant bay window, enclosed courtyard, and ornate mansard roof. The seven years he lived there were an era of trailblazing public service as a statesman, an ambassador, and an acclaimed public speaker.

His words live on in his speeches and in the artifacts he left behind. His rolltop desk is still where he placed it, Brennan told the spouses. So is a collection of his books and papers. There’s a group portrait of Lincoln’s cabinet, a lithograph of Douglass by his grandson, and a signed order from Lincoln permitting Douglass to pass through Union lines. In addition, there’s the violin that Douglass taught himself to play because he thought all free, civilized men should study music. It sat near his desk waiting for another tune until the Caring Institute was founded by Val J. Halamandaris, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice.

The spark for this undertaking came from a 1985 meeting between Halamandaris and Mother Teresa, Brennan related. When she urged him to do something about America’s poverty of spirit, he founded the Caring Institute to honor role models who selflessly serve the world. His mission took concrete form after NAHC bought the Douglass home and gave it to the institute in 1989, Brennan said. For two years, NAHC staff volunteered materials and time to remodel the house and build a Caring Hall of Fame. The result of their work was unveiled during the Caring Awards, a yearly event to honor those, like Douglass, who make a difference in the world.

His spirit imbues the Caring Hall of Fame, Brennan told the spouses, featuring pictures and profiles of all the Caring Award winners. Past honorees include former President Jimmy Carter, chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall, and baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and screen idol Paul Newman have received an award along with Mother Teresa who first inspired the awards. The museum also features more photos of Mother Teresa in a special exhibit showing the works of Michael Collopy, one of the most famous portrait photographers of our time.

Among them is a portrait of Mother Teresa’s hands worn by lifetime of loving labor. It’s especially meaningful, Brennan pointed out, because Mother Teresa had a very hands-on approach to giving care. So do many of the Caring Award winners, including Mr. Egger whose work Curtin now carries on. These honorees also come from all walks of life and both sides of the political aisle, like the governors’ spouses who had converged on the Frederick Douglass Museum & Caring Hall of Fame. Their meeting was not only a chance to network and learn. It was a chance to put differences aside and focus on common concerns. In doing so, the spouses served as role models in a place where political discord often defeats progress and meaningful change. As the spouses came together, they expressed a bipartisan spirit of caring on Capitol Hill.

©  National Association for Home Care & Hospice. All Rights Reserved.