The Home Care & Hospice Conference and Expo in Long Beach paid tribute to NAHC’s long-time president Val J. Halamandaris on October 15, with a short film introduced by three of Val’s closest colleagues – NAHC President Bill Dombi, NAHC Board of Directors Chair Denise Schrader, and Andrea Devoti, NAHC’s Executive Vice President and a former chair of the NAHC Board of Directors.
The film traced Val’s journey from the American west to Washington, D.C., where he began his long career in public service by joining the staff of Senator Frank E. Moss (D-UT) and enrolling in George Washington University and then Catholic University Law School.
|A Passion for Caring- Val Memorial Video.mp4|
Val was quickly drawn to the issues facing senior citizens with the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging and was instrumental in crafting the landmark Medicare and Medicaid programs, including the home health benefit. In 1967, Val and Senator Moss created the “Moss Amendments,” which set minimum federal standards for nursing homes. In 1969, Val led an eight-year investigation of nursing homes around the United States, culminating in a 12-volume report, the first of 25 major reports Val wrote for Congress.
In 1972, Val produced the first hearings on hospice and wrote the original legislation to provide Medicare coverage for hospice. Val’s investigation into Medicare and Medicaid fraud made such abuse a felony and led to the creation of state and federal oversight of the problem. Working with Rep. Claude Pepper (D-FL) in the House of Representatives, Val continued his fight for the aged by helping create the Medicare hospice benefit and reforming the sale of health insurance to senior citizens.
The film featured clips of some of America’s leading political voices from across the spectrum – President Bill Clinton, Senators Bob Dole (R-KS) and Susan Collins (R-ME) – talking about Val’s contributions to the improvement of American society and the rights and conditions of the elderly, in particular. President Clinton called Val “a remarkable human being and one of the most exceptional people that I have ever known”
“It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Val Halamandaris,” said Senator Dole. “Val was a good friend, known for his honesty and integrity. His life’s work was one of service, both in the public and private sectors. As President of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice for more than 30 years, Val devoted himself to caring for the elderly and those in need. He was legendary in his advocacy for the aged and vulnerable. Through the Caring Institute, Val established an organization that recognized and rewarded the good in others. He was an inspiration to many and will be deeply missed.”
Senator Collins extended her condolences to Val’s family and NAHC staffers and spoke warmly of her friendship with Val and the good work they did together to advance the cause of home care and hospice in America.
Those of us at NAHC will never forget Val or his colossal contributions to the causes we continue to fight for to this day and onward into the future.