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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


Transformational Leadership: "Vision"-ary Direction

By Ann-Marie Peckham

Home care and hospice are at a crossroads. ACOs and other initiatives related to health care reform are on a roll! CMS is setting forth new regulations, and our industry is feeling the heat. Just the other day, I was at work and heard a revealing comment: “we feel lost and not sure what our vision is at this point.” So leading the way to a strong sense of identity is a very relevant challenge!

For the past 13 years, we have taken care to strike a balance between clinical and financial management of patients. Our “value,” too, requires some attention and definition. No clinician or team wants the value of their intervention questioned. Yet our front-line managers must do just that. How well do our front-line managers dispel the inferences that come from questioning value? I would say that the answer lies in how well prepared our managers are to be leaders.

Our home care leaders must attempt to balance declining reimbursement; perhaps some issues related to adequate staffing, recruitment, and retention; regulatory requirements; and increasing complexity in technology while maintaining efficient, quality-focused service.

I go to work every day practicing to be “underwhelmed.” Like other health care administrators, I face a glut of disturbing facts. The U.S. spends more on health care than any other industrialized country. Yet we see the doctor far less often, hospital visits for chronic conditions are common, and outcomes aren’t as good. Most disturbingly, Americans do not live as long despite our higher spending on health care. Implicit in these facts is the notion that the high cost correlates mostly to in-patient costs, which ordinarily implies hope for post-acute settings. That said, another implicit truth is that “value” in general has become questionable (health data reported by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, in 2013).

So has there ever been a better time to have our “vision” checked? Recent events prompted me to take a look at my agency’s published vision, then the one published by the ACOs we are currently working with, as well as the vision that appears in the ACA. I found it interesting to note that my agency’s 15-year-old vision includes many terms and concepts that correlate with those I found in the more recent visions of the ACOs and ACA. They are as follows: leader … innovative health care services … quality care; top quality … timely … coordinated … thoughtful; lower the rate of growth of cost … high-quality service and care … putting patients first; and increase the quality while lowering the cost … reduce cost and improve care outcomes by shifting toward quality over quantity. So I feel confident going back to my curious co-worker and saying that higher quality, lower cost, and improved outcomes (as defined by metrics) make up our quest and “vision.” When we question our “value,” these will be the defining imperatives.

Is attaining them easier said than done? There is a sense of uncertainty and turmoil, if not due to the internal environment of the workplace then definitely due to the external environment we live and work in. Reassuring our employees requires “transformational leaders” who are flexible and adaptive. Such leaders create environments of shared responsibility and inspire new ways of thinking.

There are four components to transformational leadership: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration. This sounds like a lot of theory to cut through as we balance complex demands in unstable environments. “Idealized influence” builds confidence and trust by reinforcing a sense of mission and vision. Inspirational motivation is communicating high expectations to employees and encouraging them to share the organization’s vision. Intellectual stimulation is influencing staff to think in new ways, reframe problems, and realize that “how we did it” no longer applies. Finally, individualized consideration is expressing appreciation when the mission and related goals are accomplished.

Direct managers can play an important role in empowering staff. They can hold team meetings where staff members have opportunities to voice their opinions, collectively set goals, and come up with strategies to deliver more effective care aligned with the organization’s vision and mission. This input counts because success in the workplace often depends upon a leader’s ability to make positive changes and inspire other to higher levels of achievement. Transformational leaders do that and it starts with redefining (if need be) and committing to the vision. And today, it is important that we ensure the vision is in sync with the vision of health care reform. The ACA strives for higher quality, lower cost, and optimal outcomes. Our “value” is in having the skill set and competencies that will align the organization with that vision.

Ann-Marie Peckham RN, MSN, MBA, has been with the VNA of Cape Cod since 1986 and currently works as chief clinical officer overseeing home care and hospice operations. Ann-Marie is also a nurse educator and instructs on health care ethics for the University of Phoenix. She was appointed a member of the board of registration in nursing for Massachusetts in 2011 and holds the seat representing health care administration for the board.

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