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National Association for Home Care & Hospice
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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


Wireless Medicine

By Carl Hammerschlag

I’ve said before that wireless technology is reprogramming human behavior. I’ve worried that we are becoming dependent on instruments that were intended to free us but are actually captivating us with their incessant demands. We are becoming addicted to the ping of an arriving call or text that triggers a burst of endorphins which stimulate the reward centers in the brain and urge us to want more. Eighty-five percent of Americans are never more than an arm’s length from their phones and can’t imagine what life is like without the pings. I worry that it is so hard for us to get away from our cell phones that there is no longer a life between the pings. I also want to tell you that the cell phone will change the practice of medicine in wonderful ways.

We are in the midst of a culture shift in health care delivery, moving from an interventional model to one that focuses on prediction and prevention. The new technology will help patients manage their health problems with recommendations from their doctor. Mobile apps for smartphones and tablets will let patients gather diagnostic data or help coordinate care, giving them an easy way to keep track of their conditions and treatments. Consumers are increasingly armed with “wellness” apps — simple devices to monitor diets, exercise, and weight to help them stay out of the doctor’s office — that make up most of the 97,000 health-related mobile-apps on the market.

Devices that were once only in doctors’ hands are now in the hands of consumers. They’ll be able to purchase phone apps to monitor their heart problems by taking an ECG and performing an ultrasound or echocardiogram. An ECG app costing $199 records and transmits your cardiac status to your doctor’s phone. A microscopic chip the size of a grain of sand is being developed that will circulate in your bloodstream and can pick up the warning signs of an impending heart attack. In the event of a cardiac arrest, there’s also a CPR app that can guide someone through the steps of performing CPR and using an automated electronic defibrillator.

In addition, there are a number of mobile tools to help people with diabetes lower their blood glucose levels. Type in diabetes on your phone, and you can download apps at costs ranging from free to $12. You have many different diabetes apps to choose from to quickly record your blood sugar, blood pressure, pulse, weight, medications, food (usually carbohydrates), and exercise. You can even print or email your blood glucose record to your health provider.

The new technology actually allows doctors and patients to transmit data while talking to each other. Even if it’s only for five minutes, they’ll focus on each other. It’s a relationship, and it’s changing the way doctors and patients approach health care. Take it from Eric Topol, a cardiologist and genomics professor at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Topol had just taken a seat on a cross-country flight when he received an urgent e-mail from a 63-year-old patient. The man’s heart was racing and he wanted to know what to do about it. After receiving data from the patient’s phone app that analyzes heart rhythms, Topol recommended a higher dose of medicine and calmed his patient, who suffers from atrial fibrillation. “It’s good I got on the Internet on the plane, otherwise he would not have had an answer for a long time,” said Topol, who prescribed an ECG app for his patient. “Many times this helps keep a person from having to go to the emergency room.”

Like Topol, many doctors think the apps are useful time savers and have the potential to make health care more efficient by speeding diagnosis, improving patient monitoring, and reducing unnecessary visits to the hospital or physician. The health care of the future is not about intervention but prediction and prevention. People will be monitoring their own bodies, listening to what it’s telling them, and making some intelligent choices about how to come to what they are facing. This means we can heal ourselves at home and in supportive communities that care about our wellbeing. This is one form of human behavior that we shouldn’t try to reprogram or change.

Carl A. Hammerschlag, M.D., is a psychiatrist, author, and professional keynote speaker. He is an authority in the science of psychoneuroimmunology — mind, body, and spirit medicine — and speaks about health and wellness, healing, leadership, and authenticity. He has delivered motivational keynote speeches to corporate and business clients around the world. For more information, visit


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