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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

NAHC Draws Influential Support In Companionship Exemption Case against DOL

Congressional Leaders, State Attorneys General, Disability Organizations Submit “Friend of the Court” Briefs Supporting NAHC
April 10, 2015 08:56 AM

The U.S. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, was among 10 leading members of Congress last week who submitted a “friend of the court” brief, also known as amicus curiae brief, supporting NAHC’s position in its lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) over new regulations that would redefine the “companionship services” and “live-in” exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Also submitting amicus briefs supporting NAHC last week were nine state Attorneys General, as well as two leading disability groups—ADAPT and the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)—and the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State.

“The DOL’s amended regulations relative to the companionship and live-in exemptions ignore the plain statutory language and subvert Congressional intent, with potentially devastating effects to the aged and infirm and their families,” wrote the members of Congress in their amicus brief.  “There are no ‘winners’ to be found in this new regulatory scheme.  The effects Congress clearly sought to avoid in 1974 by creating this limited exemption from the FLSA [Fair Labor Standards Act] and in maintaining the status quo on the exemption after the decision in Coke in 2007—namely, increased costs and institutionalization of our elderly and infirm populations—will clearly be the end result if the District Court’s Orders are overturned and these regulations are reinstated.  These policy decisions have already been made by Congress, and the DOL cannot undo those decisions and substitute its own judgment in their place.”

The members of Congress submitting the amicus brief supporting NAHC included:

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader and a member of the Committee on Appropriations;
  • Sen. Pat Roberts, Member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP);
  • Sen. Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the HELP Committee, and Member of the Committee on Appropriations;
  • Sen. Roy Blunt, Member of the Committee on Appropriations and Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee;
  • Sen. John Boozman, Member of the Committee on Appropriations;
  • Sen. Mike Enzi, Chairman of the Committee on the Budget and Member of the HELP Committee;
  • Sen. Johnny Isakson, Member of the HELP Committee;
  • Senator Marco Rubio, Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship;
  • Representative Tim Walberg, Member of the House Committee on Education and Workforce; andRepresentative Lynn Jenkins, Member of the House Committee on Ways & Means.

As previously reported, in January, DOL appealed the U.S. District Court’s ruling that invalidated multiple regulations issued by DOL that would eliminate the “companionship services” exemption from minimum wage and overtime compensation requirements under the FLSA.  The court also invalidated a DOL rule that would prohibit home care companies from applying the companionship services and live-in domestic services exemptions to their workers.  The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will consider the appeal with oral arguments before a three-judge panel scheduled for May 7, 2015.

DOL filed its initial brief for the appeal on February 20.  NAHC submitted its reply brief on March 30.  One of the differences from the original action before the District Court is that other parties have the opportunity to submit amicus briefs in which the parties clearly express to the court which side of the litigation they support.

The amicus briefs supporting NAHC responded forcefully to claims made by DOL in its initial brief filed to the court on February 20.  DOL has claimed that the district judge made errors in interpreting the FLSA and in ruling whether a regulation is within the power of a federal agency.  The central argument by DOL is that the U.S. Supreme Court established that it is within DOL’s discretion to define and delimit the FLSA exemptions at issue, and that the only grounds for invalidating its discretionary action is if that action is found to be arbitrary and capricious.  DOL claims a reasonable basis to change the 40 year old rule based on 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. The lower district court rejected these same DOL arguments.

In response to DOL, NAHC and its supporters have highlighted significant concerns ignored by DOL about eliminating the companionship exemption.  The members of Congress emphasized that DOL is disregarding Congressional intent and authority in such a way that will result in increased costs and institutionalization of elderly and infirm populations.  The ten state Attorneys General, led by Kansas, stated that the DOL rules would negatively affect their states’ fiscal interests in administering home care programs under Medicaid and raise constitutional concerns regarding the states’ sovereign interests.  “In short, the Department’s new regulations expose States to an unfunded liability for overtime wages under the FLSA,” the states wrote in their brief.

The states further argued that the rule will “threaten the operational viability of this program, both in letter and spirit”—harming not only consumer care, but also workers by forcing employers to cap hours in order to stay within the constraints of Medicaid rates.

The state Attorneys General submitting the amicus brief are: Kansas, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

The other amicus briefs similarly expressed concerns about the negative consequences of the rules on both workers and patients.  ADAPT and NCIL highlighted concerns specifically about the consequences for disabled people

“The new rule will also have highly disruptive effects on the lives of disabled people,” the disability groups wrote.  “In many cases, people will lose services which enable them to live in at home, resulting in forced institutionalization.  DOL’s action will, therefore, harm both attendants – the very workers it intended to assist – and people with disabilities.”

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will hear oral arguments before a three-judge panel on May 7, 2015.  NAHC will continue to provide updates regarding the lawsuit.




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