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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

Heath 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

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

Companionship Services Exemption: NAHC’s Continued Advocacy Efforts

October 15, 2013 12:26 PM

On September 16, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor issued the Final Rule that significantly modified the longstanding “companionship services” and “live-in domestic services” exemptions from minimum wage and overtime compensation. The rule changes take effect on January 1, 2015.

NAHC has developed a series of strategies to address the impact of the rule in home care. These strategies include a series of defensive measures through Congress, litigation to invalidate the changes, and a strategy to make the rule change livable for home care providers.

The defensive legislative strategies include the introduction of legislation to reverse the rule change. However, this strategy has a very limited chance of success given the veto power of a President who fully supports this rule. Similar measures such as an attempt to defund the rule implementation are likely to face comparable results.

NAHC continues to evaluate and assess a litigation strategy. NAHC has successfully defended the current rule before the U.S. Supreme Court twice, most recently in 2007. However, litigation this time around would aim to invalidate the rule, which is a much more difficult effort. Also, if litigation is pursued, it would require success on both the revised definition of “Companionship Services” as well as the change that excluded third-party employers from the exemption.  All these elements are undergoing a careful review at NAHC.

The latest NAHC strategy is being termed the “lemonade approach.”  The rule-- a “lemon”-- would be turned into “lemonade” by securing federal support for the new costs that the overtime rule would create. With the new funding, home care companies can continue to meet consumers’ needs without resorting to part-time workers, reducing base wages, or other similar measures to control cost growth. Consumers would win by getting experienced staff with reduced staff turnover. Workers would benefit by getting improved wages. Companies would remain stable as the new costs are funded.

The “lemonade” strategy would begin with the concept that the President must find a way to fund the new mandate if he wishes to achieve his intended goals for workers without harming consumers and home care businesses. Funding the new mandate may entail two separate actions. For federal health care and personal care programs, regulatory changes in the benefit programs could include a requirement to adjust payment rates to cover any new costs incurred complying with the overtime rule.

Private pay home care can be addressed in a different way.  Since rates are set by the private businesses in contrast to government funding programs, consumers can be protected from the higher care costs triggered by the new rule through a tax credit program. Current tax law includes several tax credit programs under which individuals receive a tax payment credit when expenses are incurred for a particular good or service. With this approach, the elderly and disabled can qualify for a credit if they purchase home care services. The credit would be payable even where the consumer has no income tax liability.

The “lemonade” strategy would not be an easy or success-guaranteed advocacy effort. It will take hard work and luck to succeed. However, it is the one strategy that will bring the most stakeholders together as consumers, workers, and employers should all be able to support it.

NAHC Report will continue to keep the home care community updated as this advocacy effort unfolds.

NAHC also urges its members to attend this year’s Annual Meeting, October 31 – November 3, to continue its grassroots advocacy on this and many other topics that have a direct consequence on the home care & hospice community.

To register to attend the Annual Meeting, please click here.




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