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Testimonials

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. 

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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.

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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

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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 element...it’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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Former President Bill Clinton

NAHC Overtime Compensation Lawsuit: Update

March 6, 2015 10:36 AM

As earlier reported, the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) appealed the decisions of the U.S. District Court that invalidated the new rules issued by the Department that would have redefined the “companionship services” exemption from the minimum wage and overtime compensation requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The court also invalidated the rule change that would prohibit the application of the companionship services and live-in domestic services exemptions to workers employed by home care companies. This article is an update of the actions that have occurred since DoL filed its appeal.

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has set a briefing scheduled for the parties that will be completed in early April. Oral argument before a three-judge panel has been scheduled for May 7, 2015. With such scheduling, it is very possible that a decision could be issued before the court goes on its July recess. Still, the timing of when a ruling will be issued is very hard to predict.

The DoL filed its initial brief on February 20. In it, DoL argues that the district judge made a series of errors in interpreting the FLSA as well as court rulings on how to determine if a rule is within the power of a federal agency. DoL’s central argument is that the U.S. Supreme Court established that it is within the discretion of DoL to define and delimit the FLSA exemptions at issue. DoL further argues that its discretionary action must be upheld unless it is arbitrary and capricious. DoL’s position is that it has a reasonable basis to change the 40 year old rule because of the changes in the home care industry, the “professionalization” of home care aide work, and the shift of the work to a vocation rather than an avocation. These are the same arguments made by DoL at the district court level that were rejected.

An appeal is adjudicated somewhat differently than the original action before the District Court.  First, the Court of Appeals does not need to determine if the district judge committed any legal errors. Instead, it is a “de novo” review, a fresh evaluation of the legal merits of the case. Another big difference is that in an appeal of this type of case, numerous other parties submit so-called “friend of the court briefs, otherwise known as amicus curiae briefs. These parties are not objective friends of the court. Each party must express to the court which side of the litigation it supports.

This lawsuit involves important issues that have been in contest before DoL, the courts, and Congress for many years. NAHC previously litigated similar issues before the U.S. Supreme court in 2005 and 2007. Then and now, the issue of overtime wages to home care aides draws in a wide variety of interests.

On February 27, numerous parties filed amicus briefs supporting DoL. Among those parties are unions, four states Attorney General, advocacy organizations representing seniors and persons with disabilities, Members of Congress, and worker and women’s rights advocacy groups. Beyond the legal issues, these parties generally argue that the workers are underpaid, take on the employment as “breadwinners,” and that better wages and overtime compensation rights will improve care by reducing turnover of home care staff. By and large, the arguments advanced by the “amici” mirror the comments the same parties made in the DoL rulemaking process.

NAHC’s reply brief is due on March 30. Thereafter, it is expected that numerous parties will submit amicus briefs in support of NAHC’s position. Among the expected amici are disability advocacy groups, state Medicaid programs, members of Congress, and business groups.  Among other things, those amici will address concerns that DoL supporters did not. Specifically, these supporters will argue that Medicaid rates control worker compensation and that these rates are not rising to cover the cost of overtime. As a result, worker compensation is likely to suffer as employers restrict working hours to stay within the financial constraints imposed by Medicaid rates. Restrictions on work hours negatively impact home care consumers as they increase the number of workers needed to care for patients and trigger worker dissatisfaction and turnover. A number of state Medicaid programs are restricting or planning on restricting working hours to avoid overtime costs.

NAHC’s response to the DoL brief will argue that the plain language of the FLSA requires an application of the exemptions to workers employed by home care companies and that “companionship services” must include personal care. In addition, NAHC will argue that Congress is the forum for addressing the concerns raised by DoL amici, not a regulatory body or the courts. In 1974, Congress made a choice to protect individuals who need home care over the workers who provide it. Congress is the best forum to revisit that decision if needed.

A full discussion of the lawsuit and its ramifications will take place at the upcoming NAHC March on Washington. On March 23, a panel consisting of representatives from NAHC and the other plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the Home Care Association of America and the International Franchise Association will be joined by our legal counsel in the lawsuit. For more details, please click here

 

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