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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



Using Disease-Specific Programs to Grow Your Private Duty Agency

By Jason Lewallen


Private duty home care is the single fastest-growing service in the post-acute care industry. With the continued growth of the aging population, this trend is expected to continue for years to come. Increased demand for private duty care has sparked a shift from little or no marketing to a more aggressive sales outreach, which can be problematic for some agencies. Because increased demand brings with it increased competition, it’s going to become more difficult to grow your client base without a fresh approach.

One effective strategy is to create a disease-specific program to complement the care plan established by the hospital or physician when discharging their patients to self-care at home. This program (often referred to as disease management) offers a huge incentive for the medical professionals in your area to refer to you over your competitors. Here are the three main benefits of a disease-specific program:

  1. It opens a door to non-intermittent care. Many Medicare home health patients need around-the-clock care. While some have able caregivers, many simply do not. You can help your medical professionals identify that need and serve those clients, keeping them healthy and safe.
  2. It helps prevent hospital readmissions. Hospitals and physicians are taking a huge financial loss when a client with a specific illness (typically heart attack, pneumonia, and congestive heart failure) gets readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged. It’s estimated to have resulted in about $428 million in fines imposed by Medicare in 2014 alone. By helping patients maintain a healthy diet and knowing the signs of their worsening condition, your agency will help reduce those readmissions.
  3. It minimizes their paperwork. The providers will not be required to fill out detailed orders every time you change a client’s shirt or they have trouble eating lunch. It’s good to report key things to the doctor, but they will not be required to sign an order every time you do.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “So if I decide to create a disease-specific program, then what?” The answer is quite simple: YOU SELL IT! It’s your job to mobilize your sales efforts to promote how your agency can work with medical professionals, hospitals, and other post-acute care providers to meet the needs of their patients and become a cornerstone to their continuum of care.

To help you get started, here is a three-step plan for promoting your disease- specific program:

Step 1: Identify your target audience.

Knowing who and where to market is almost as important as the sales and marketing efforts themselves. If you have not been reaching out to medical professionals (or have not been very successful reaching out to them), you need to create a list of the most active physicians in your market. Once you’ve identified your target physicians, prioritize which ones seem to be the most likely to refer for your services. Having an idea of the volume of patients they are referring and the diagnoses they specialize in can help as well.

Step 2: Educate your referral sources on the value that you provide.

After establishing your target audience, you need to educate your prospective referral sources about the benefits of your program. Many times, an in-service lunch or a quick in-person meeting allows you to start a conversation about the holistic needs of their patients. Make sure to provide an educational brochure that gives them an easy way to get in touch with you, so they are always thinking, “Reach out to [your agency] to set up an assessment.”

It’s important to keep in mind that you most likely will not be effective if you only visit each referral source once. They need to recognize you as an authority on private duty care, as well as the program you are promoting. So many companies visit them each day that it’s easy for your agency to get lost in the shuffle. Stand out from the crowd with the small and meaningful details of great customer service: recognize their birthday; find out their favorite team or maybe their favorite food. Building a strong relationship with your referral sources (combined with your expertise on disease management) will put you a few steps ahead of your nearest competitor.

Step 3: Monitor and measure your success.

If you want to grow, as well as sustain that growth, this final step is imperative. If you don’t “see what sticks” when it comes to your sales and marketing efforts, then how will you know what is working and what isn’t? Monitoring your team’s results and measuring them over time will allow you to refine your strategies and become even more effective.

This is where a customer relationship management (CRM) solution can help. If your sales team uses a CRM and reports their daily interactions, you’ll have the accountability to protect your investment. You will also be able to see when new patients are admitted to your care and be able to review the efforts that brought that referral to your doorstep.

Private Duty Home Care will only become more and more competitive. The time to put in place a strategy for sustainable growth is today, not tomorrow. By developing specialty programs that place your agency directly in the spectrum of care, you can elevate the awareness of your services in the community and become an important ally to the medical providers in your market.



About the Author: Jason Lewallen, business development manager with PlayMaker CRM, specializes in connecting health care organizations with technology solutions to boost sales and grow business. Having previously worked on the front lines of post-acute care sales, he understands the challenges facing providers and helps them maximize their growth potential.







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