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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


Necessary Sacrifices: A Tribute to Frederick Douglass

By Lisa Yarkony


This month marks the birthday of Frederick Douglass who’s still in the public eye. Last year, a play about him premiered in Washington, DC. In his fourth commission for Ford’s Theatre, playwright Richard Hellesen explored two documented encounters between Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln at the height of the Civil War. Necessary Sacrifices, as Mr. Hellesen’s play is called, is the story of two self-made men from humble backgrounds who influenced a nation. Both envisioned a world of equality and freedom, but they didn’t always see eye to eye on how to make that dream come true. The play is told from Douglass’s point of view as he urges Lincoln to use his power to act on America’s founding ideal that “all men are created equal.”

It’s an ideal that Douglass strived for all his life as a leading spokesman for the abolition of slavery, racial equality, and justice. After being born a slave, he escaped his bonds to become a social reformer, statesman, and orator who moved minds and hearts. Along the way, he suffered mockery, insult, and violent personal attack, but he never flagged in his devotion to the abolitionist cause. Known for his dazzling speeches and incisive anti-slavery writing, he stood as a living affront to slaveholders’ arguments that slaves could not function as independent citizens of the United States. They certainly could, and so could women, as he maintained when he spoke to the National Council of Women on the evening of his death.

It has been over a century since Douglass gave his last speech, yet he’s still making the news. Recently freshman at East Chicago High School collaborated with the National Geographic Society and Gilder Lehrman Foundation to host their own Frederick Douglass exhibit. Not too long ago, Hampton University Museum, the country’s oldest African-American museum, welcomed a special exhibit of paintings portraying Frederick Douglass and fellow freedom fighter Harriet Tubman. Douglass has even made his mark in Holland, where the Center of African-American Art and History mounted an exhibit devoted to his achievements.

And his inspiring words reached new ears when Morgan Freeman and Don Cheadle read his works in Chicago as part of “The People Speak, Live!” This exciting benefit performance paired Academy Award-winner Matt Damon with local talent for dramatic readings and songs drawn from the actual words of America’s rebels, dissenters, and prophets, both present and past. “It’s an honest and exciting look at where we’ve come from,” Damon said. “The idea that all of the progress in America toward equality has been struggled for by ordinary people, I hope will become a point of discussion for students of all ages. With The People Speak, you’re getting the historical text verbatim; there’s no spin.” And you don’t need spin, when you have magnificent words like the ones Douglass used as he discussed the sacrifices that are often required for freedom.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress,” he said in a much-quoted speech. “Power concedes nothing without a demand,” he warned. “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world, but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others,” among the points made in the fine play that Douglass helped inspire.

Necessary Sacrifices tells a composite story of two men, fierce in their philosophies and steadfast in their love of humanity,” said director Jennifer L. Nelson. “We know who won the Civil War. We know about its aftermath, the lingering effects of racism and regional differences. But the story we need to tell is how these two visionaries — fathers, husbands, ordinary human beings — sacrificed their personal lives on our behalf, not for personal gain, but for — dare I say it — the greater good.”

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