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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 Service Overtime Lawsuit Progresses

September 3, 2014 09:44 AM

The lawsuit challenging the US Department of Labor (DoL) rule that effectively eliminates the application of the overtime pay exemptions for companionship and live-in domestic services is rapidly progressing in federal court in Washington, D.C. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), along with its co-plaintiffs, filed a reply this week to the US Department of Labor’s efforts to dismiss the lawsuit that followed the plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

In its filing, the DoL argues that it has the power to reinterpret the Fair Labor Standards Act exemptions - even if those new interpretations are in complete conflict with the nearly 40 year-old standards. Those standards have been consistently applied by the DoL since 1975 - and have been defended intensely at the U.S. Supreme Court by the Department.

The DoL has attempted to convince the court that it is only interpreting an ambiguous law and that its interpretation should be accepted unless it is irrational, arbitrary, or capricious. In that regard, DoL explains that the home care industry has changed greatly since 1975 and that workers are now engaged in caregiving as a vocation, not simply helping family and friends.

NAHC and its co-plaintiffs responded with full force. Amplifying the positions taken in their original brief, NAHC and co-plaintiffs argue that the plain language of the law is very clear: Congress intended the exemptions to apply to “any employee” in the respective positions regardless of the identity of the employer. Further, NAHC argues that the law focuses on employees who provide care to persons with disabilities and infirmities, not on their employers. The consumers of care and the nature of the work by the caregivers have not changed since 1975. Its use has grown significantly since 1975, but the work itself is very much the same.  Given that the DoL itself estimates that 98 percent of companionship services workers will be outside of the overtime exemption if the new rule is allowed to stand, NAHC and its co-plaintiffs argue that DoL’s changes are irrational, arbitrary and capricious as Congress’s intended beneficiaries of the original exemption, the vulnerable and needy consumers of care, will be deprived of the intended benefit of affordable care. As such, DoL’s “changes in the industry” explanation does not fit.

In previous litigation on the overtime exemption, DoL took the opposite view, arguing to the US Supreme Court that the exemption needed to apply to any and all employees to honor both the language of the law and the congressionally-expressed purpose behind it. In that case, litigated by NAHC and state home care associations on behalf of the home care agency, the Supreme Court found the more expansive interpretation to be valid. In the present litigation, DoL argues that it has the discretion to reinterpret the law in a manner that is 180 degrees opposite its longstanding position because the Supreme Court indicated that it has “gap-filling” power. NAHC responds that the gap-filling power does not include exclusion of an entire class of employers from use of the exemption unless it explicitly authorizes such in the law. The law provides no such expression.

The next phase of the lawsuit gives DoL another briefing opportunity. Then it goes to the federal judge for oral argument and a decision hopefully before the new rule takes effect on January 1, 2015. If NAHC is successful with this part of the case, litigation will proceed to a second part concerning the definition of “companionship services.” The DoL rule totally changes that definition, essentially limited personal care related work functions to no more than 20 percent in a work week. That limitation also would effectively eliminate the application of the exemption in home care.

For further information about this lawsuit, please contact Bill Dombi, NAHC’s Vice President for Law and co-counsel on the lawsuit.




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