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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 Lawsuit Advances

Court Ruling Expected Next Month
November 21, 2014 09:24 AM

NAHC’s lawsuit challenging the US Department of Labor rule that virtually eliminates the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exemptions for “companionship services” and “live-in domestic services” was presented to federal US District Judge Richard J. Leon on Wednesday, November 19, 2014. Judge Leon heard oral arguments on the pending cross-motions for summary judgment. The judge indicated that he intends to issue a ruling in December, prior to the January 1, 2015 effective date of the new rules.

At issue in the lawsuit is whether the US Department of Labor acted beyond the scope of its authority when it issued the rule that eliminates the application of both exemptions where the worker is employed by a home care agency or other entity rather than directly and exclusively by the consumer of services or someone in their household. In addition, the lawsuit challenges the redefinition of “companionship services” in a manner that obliterates any application to the personal care services usually provided by home care companies.

At the hearing, NAHC argued that the Labor Department (DoL) rule is equivalent to an “administrative fiat” in that is turns around a nearly 40 year standard on the overtime exemptions, contrary to the plain language of the FLSA, in contravention to express congressional intent, and in conflict with the US 2007 Supreme Court decision in Long Island Care at Home v. Coke. Of late, the White House has been under fire on a number of fronts for usurping the power of Congress and using rule changes to get a policy change that Congress does not support.  A big part of the NAHC argument is that Congress had the chance three times to change the FLSA to do what the Department of Labor is doing in its rule change, but rejected those changes. Such is a significant indication of congressional intent - especially when such actions occur after a Supreme Court upheld the original exemption rules.

It was also pointed out to the Court that DoL is taking the position that it has the power to carve out a class of employers from the application of an FLSA exemption. That action is unprecedented in the FLSA history and, if upheld by the court, would mean that DoL could discriminate against certain employer types in any or all of the other FLSA exemptions without congressional approval. 

The government’s response, presented by the US Department of Justice, was that DoL has broad powers to “define and delimit” the FLSA exemptions. That power, Justice claims, must be respected unless it has been used in an arbitrary and capricious manner. Justice also argued that the court must give great deference to its interpretation of the laws. Justice stated that the Coke case supports the DoL position that the exemption law is ambiguous, necessitating “gap filling” by DoL on the meaning and application of the exemptions.

Judge Leon pressed both parties on their legal positions in the case. However, the judge expressed concerns about the DoL reliance on the Coke decision and questioned whether there was any expressed legislative intent to exclude third-party employers. The court had the Justice attorney admit that DoL determined that at least 90% of the workers engaged in personal care services worked for a home care company rather than directly employed by the consumer of the services. In doing so, the court exposed the reality of the new rules as effectively eliminating the exemptions.

At the close of the hearing, Judge Leon explained that he intends to issue a decision in December, prior to the effective date of the new rules.  If the judge issues a decision favorable to NAHC, it can be expected that the DoL will appeal it. Further, it can be expected that DoL would ask that the court stay any adverse judgment. In such case, we believe that the judge would not grant a stay because it would permit the rule to go into effect. Since DoL itself intends to not enforce the new rules for 6 months, NAHC would explain to the court that a stay would allow for private attorneys to enforce the rules against vulnerable state Medicare programs, Agencies on Aging, Independent Living Centers, as well as home care companies.   

All of this translates to a “wait and see” what the court decides next month.  NAHC is hopeful there will be a favorable ruling.




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