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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

Lawsuit Challenging Department of Labor Overtime Rule Progresses

September 18, 2014 04:08 PM

The lawsuit challenging the validity of the recent rule issued by the US Department of Labor modifying the "companionship services" and "live in domestic services" exemptions on the Fair Labor Standards Act is ready for hearing by the Federal District Court judge. All briefs have been filed by both NAHC and the Department of Labor and the parties are awaiting the scheduling of the case for oral argument before the judge.

The lawsuit raises the challenge that the Department of Labor rule is in direct conflict with the fair labor standards act as passed by Congress in 1974. That law allows an exemption from minimum wage and overtime compensation for work that is classified as "companionship services."  It also exempts "live in domestic services" from overtime compensation. In December, 2013 the Department of Labor finalized significant changes in the rule that bans the exemption when the workers are employed by third-party entities. Also, the rule change completely redefines the nature of "companionship services."

The Department of Labor bases its defense on the argument that the law provides it with discretion to determine which employers can "avail themselves" of the exemptions. The department continues with its argument that it did not abuse its discretion in interpreting the law as it did in the December 2013 rule. The department supports its argument with the contention that the US Supreme Court requires a party challenging a federal rule to demonstrate that it is irrational or arbitrary and capricious in order to invalidate a requirement established within the discretion of the federal administrative agency.

NAHC and it's co-plaintiffs argue that the plain language of the law requires that the exemptions apply to "any employee" who is providing "companionship services" or engaged in work as a "live in domestic." In its briefs submitted to the federal court, NAHC and its co-plaintiffs explain that the language of the fair labor standards act led the department to establish the exemptions by regulations in 1975, applying  the exemptions to any employee working for any type of employer. Plaintiffs argue that the department's new role is unprecedented in the history of the fair labor standards act in that it is the first time that the department is carving out a class of employers from the minimum wage and overtime exemptions. Were Congress expected a limited application of an exemption, the statutory language has specifically done so.

Plaintiffs also argue that the basis for the rule change, as advanced by the Department of Labor, is insufficient to justify the dramatic modifications in that rule. The Department has admitted that nearly 98% of all workers in the exempt categories would no longer have the exemption apply because their employer is someone other than the direct consumer of the services. The Department of Labor has argued that changes in the home care industry warrant a change in the rule. However NAHC and co-plaintiffs respond that there were no changes in the nature of the work provided as "companionship services" or "live in domestic services". Likewise, there is no change in the purpose behind the original exemption which the legislative history indicates is intended to benefit infirm, disabled, and elderly individuals who need personal care support to remain safely at home.

In 2007, NAHC and several state associations brought a case to the US Supreme Court in defense of the long-standing rule that had applied to third-party employers since 1975. The US Supreme Court found in NAHC's favor, concluding that the Department of Labor had the authority to include third-party employers within the scope of the exemptions. This current case put NAHC in an opposite position, challenging the validity of the new rule rather than defending the validity of the old rule. That different position creates significant complications in the litigation and pits NAHC against the Department of Labor rather than on the same side. The federal courts generally tend to favor administrative agency when rules are challenged. The courts do invalidate agency regulations when they are in direct conflict with the language of the law or represent an arbitrary capricious interpretation. The lawsuit alleges both have occurred here.

At this point, the parties are awaiting the scheduling of oral argument before the federal judge. It is hoped that that hearing will take place within a matter of weeks, providing the judge with the opportunity to issue a decision well in advance of the January 1, 2015 effective date of the new rule. If NAHC is successful, it will advance the lawsuit further by seeking an injunction to prevent the rule's implementation while also challenging the revised definition of "companionship services." That new definition virtually eliminates the application of the exemption in any form of homecare services given the wide-ranging restrictions on the provision of personal care to fit within the scope of "companionship services."

NAHC cautions home care companies that state laws in some states already have eliminated the application of an overtime exemption for personal care services provided by third-party home care providers. The outcome of the lawsuit will not affect those laws.




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