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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

NAHC and Other Advocacy Organizations File Lawsuit Against Department of Labor’s Companionship and Live-in Rules

Legal Action Aims to Protect and Preserve Access to High Quality Home Care Services for Patients and to Maintain Take Home Pay for Home Care Workers
June 18, 2014 10:34 AM

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) recently filed a lawsuit that aims to overturn the new Department of Labor rules restricting the application of the companionship services and live-in exceptions to minimum wage and overtime compensation requirements. Three plaintiffs, the Home Care Association Of America, the International Franchise Association, and the National Association For Home Care & Hospice have filed suit against the U.S. Department Of Labor seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for the Department’s violation of Federal law. The new rules are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015.

Under the Department of Labor’s new companionship rule, “companionship services” has been redefined to be limited to “fellowship”, “protection”, and limited direct personal care. Personal care-related services are limited to no more than 20 percent of the hours worked. Under this definition, the vast majority of Medicaid personal care services will be subject to minimum wage and overtime requirements. Private pay home care impact will vary on a client-specific basis. It is also highly likely that virtually all private pay services will be affected by the new rule.

The revised standards for the exemptions also exclude their application to employees employed by home care agencies (“third-party employers”). The modified “companionship services” exemption along with the live-in domestic services exemption will apply for workers directly employed by the client or a family member. That still causes a negative impact on so-called consumer-directed care because of the new, limited definition of companionship.

The changes to the definition of the Companion Care exemption by the Obama Administration present real challenges for seniors and individuals with disabilities who need access to these necessary personalcare services, as well as the home care workers who serve these vulnerable populations. The rule change will reduce consumer’s care options, increase their costs, and limit the availability of essential caregivers. Workers will be harmed as well, relegated to part-time work even where they prefer full-time employment.

On the changing role of home care providers under the new Companionship definition, Bill Dombi, NAHC’s Vice President for Law, has stated previously that, “workers are going to get the short end of the stick. It will become an industry filled with part-timers.”

The new rule, if enacted, will have a deeply destabilizing impact on the entire home care industry, while creating serious care access problems for the seniors and persons with disabilities along with significant burdens on consumers of care – and on the programs that pay for care such as Medicaid.  Mr. Dombi reiterated that the new rule will also hinder both home care clients and workers stating that, “fellowship services are like buying a friend, which is not what home care agencies provide. What most infirm individuals need is not a friend. They need care.”

Given that the new companionship and live-in rules will severely hinder access to home care services, hurt the livelihoods of home care workers, and create cost burdens for already strapped government-funded programs, advocacy organizations such as the National Council on Disability, the National Association of Medicaid Directors, and the Small Business Administration have all asked the Department of Labor to reconsider the new rule and delay its implementation.

Also at issue in the DoL’s new definition is the continuation of the exemption for consumer-employed caregivers – essentially forcing home care patients to become employers with responsibility to take on the myriad of complex tasks that employers face employers such as compliance with tax laws, workers compensation, unemployment compensation, and the Fair Labor standards Act.

“This new definition essentially requires the homebound elderly, infirm, sick, dying and people with severe physical or mental disabilities to become small businesses in and of themselves to get the care they need,” said Mr. Dombi. “Asking someone who is homebound to take on the administrative and bookkeeping tasks that would now be required presents both a barrier and a hindrance to quality home care.”

The lawsuit is filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

To read the full lawsuit, please click here.




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