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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


Just Imagine

By Lucy Andrews

Just imagine the state of civil rights if Rosa Parks had not gotten on that bus. Just imagine what would have happened to justice if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had not started marching in Selma. Just imagine the human rights abuses that might have happened if Nelson Mandela had given up during his long years in jail. Just imagine the future of home care — and the fate of millions of patients — if our voices are not heard. Grassroots activism has been around for as long as humankind and here we are in 2014, again at the precipice of big changes in our field.

The employment mandate and the end of the companionship exemption are making it harder for us to provide high-quality care. It’s our reason for being in business and it also serves justice by giving patients the freedom to age in their own homes. For their sake and for our own, we need to make a grassroots effort now more than ever. We need your voice more than ever before.

You have to realize that your voice does have an impact. If you always keep this one belief in mind and let it guide you, it will make a difference indeed. And here are a few other tips that will lead to successful grassroots efforts:

Know your purpose and embrace your passion:

  • What is your why? For most of us that why relates back to why we are in this business. It might be your own experience caring for a loved one or a child. It might be your commitment to your chosen profession. It always includes the clients we care for every day. They’re the people who need us the most.

Know your issue:

  • Be well informed on the issues you are lobbying about. Read up on them and formulate your opinion. Look at both sides of a problem so you can understand the opposing voice. Well versed is well armed.

Know your audience:

  • Who are you bringing your issue to? Is it your elected officials, your community, your clients, or your staff? Each of these different audiences has a different perspective, so get to know them on their own home ground. Get out of your agency and your office. It’s important for you to meet each of them where they are, not just where you are.

It's about the relationship:

  • When you ask someone for something, it helps if you can make a connection. Look for a link that creates common ground with your audience members. It may be a connection in your community. It may be a personal connection. Perhaps you see a picture of a dog in their office and you volunteer at an animal shelter. Right there is a connection and a starting point for a bond. Get to know your elected officials. Asking becomes easier when you’re asking someone who is a friend.

Follow up:

  • No one likes a fair weather friend, and all relationships need ongoing attention. Grassroots activism is about establishing relationships and keeping them. Doing so allows us to humanize issues, make them real, and present them in ways others can relate to. Remember how important it is to stay engaged and follow up. Keep the key issue in the front of your mind, and don’t lose your sense of passion. It will help you face obstacles, not get discouraged, and keep moving forward.

Most of all, always know your individual voice does make a difference, especially if it fuels a greater cause. Never let yourself feel that you are just one person and have no power to produce change. Use these tips to make your way and never look back. Instead look ahead and speak out for your beliefs. If we all do that, just imagine what it will mean for our patients and for our field.


Lucy Andrews is Vice Chairman for the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and founder and CEO of At Your Service Home Care, Santa Rosa, CA.

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