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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

Overtime Lawsuit: NAHC Vows to Take the Case to the U.S. Supreme Court

August 27, 2015 09:57 AM

A panel of three judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled unanimously on August 21, 2015, that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) had the discretionary power to revise longstanding federal regulations and exclude third-party employers of workers engaged in “companionship services” and “live-in domestic services” from “availing themselves” of the minimum wage and overtime exemptions under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In doing, the Court of Appeals reversed the earlier decision of the Federal District Court that invalidated those rules.
      The Court of Appeals did not rule on the dispute about whether the DOL could change the definition of “companionship services.” It held that it did not have jurisdiction to rule on that issue because of its ruling on the third-party employer rule. The court concluded that home care companies did not have “standing” to challenge the revised definition since the exemption does not apply to their employees categorically.
      The Court of Appeals held that the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Coke v. Long Island Care at Home that the FLSA exemptions were ambiguous and that the DOL had the power to define which employers and employees the exemptions applied to. Under the standards for determining whether a law passed by Congress was properly interpreted by a federal administrative agency, the Court Appeals evaluated the rules under the so-called Chevron step two analysis.
Chevron is a Supreme Court decision that established a two part method of evaluating the validity of federal regulations. Under Chevron, if the plain language of the law permits only one interpretation, that is the end of the analysis. However, if the law is at all ambiguous, the regulation is analyzed to determine if the interpretation is reasonable. The Chevron standard gives deference to the federal agency’s interpretation provided it has some rational basis. The court concluded that DOL presented a reasonable basis for the rule change in that home care work shifted from a casual activity to a vocation in the years following the 1975 original rule. The Court also indicated that DOL reasonably evaluated the impact of the changes in concluding that it would benefit workers and consumers of home care.
    The Coke case was actually prosecuted by NAHC at the Supreme Court in 2005 and 2007. That lawsuit successfully stopped a challenge, spearheaded by a home care worker union, to the validity of the then-DOL rule that permitted the application of the “companionship services” exemption to workers employed by home care companies. The Supreme Court unanimously held that the regulation was a valid interpretation of the FLSA. Essentially, the Court of Appeals ruling indicates that DOL has the power to include or exclude third-party employers from the FLSA exemptions. That means that the Court of Appeals thinks that both interpretations are somehow reasonable.
      NAHC and the other plaintiffs in the case argued that the plain language of the FLSA applies the exemption to “any employee” without any restriction on the nature of the employer. As an alternative, the plaintiffs argued that the Department of Labor rule change was not “reasonable” and that it was “arbitrary and capricious” for multiple reasons including the harm that it would cause to home care consumers and the home care workers.
Whether the Court of Appeals decision is correct hinges mainly on the question of whether the Supreme Court actually held in the Coke case that the FLSA exemptions in the law were ambiguous. The plaintiff home care associations argued that the Coke case was different than the present lawsuit in that it involved a challenge as to whether the law specifically excluded third party employers from the exemptions—the opposite of the present case. In addition, plaintiffs argued that the Coke decision supports their position in its findings that the legislative history of the law demonstrates that Congress intended the companionship service exemption to make home care affordable for the elderly and infirm.
If there is no further appeal, the Department of Labor rules will go into effect on October 13, 2015. The Court of Appeals “mandate” is effective 45 days from its issuance and an additional 7 days is tacked on to give the parties time to seek a rehearing with the full court. Since the 52nd day falls on a Sunday and Monday is Columbus Day, it would go into effect on October 13.

There are several possible approaches that can continue the challenge to the validity of the regulations.

A request for re-hearing in the Court of Appeals by the full slate of 8 judges not originally on the case is an option. If that route is taken, the effective date of the ruling will depend on when the Court rules on the request. The Court can reject the request without a hearing or it can decide to rehear the case. The make-up of the judges at the DC Court of Appeals is not favorable to employers in this case. A request for rehearing must be filed before the close of the 52 day period following the three judge decision.

The parties can also file a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. Four justices must determine that the case should be heard for the petition to be granted. If it is granted then the full Supreme Court hears the case. A petition to the Supreme Court must be filed within 90 days of the effective date of the Court of Appeals decision. The parties can petition the Supreme Court without seeking a rehearing at the Court of Appeals or do so after the final action of the Court of Appeals on the rehearing request. The Supreme Court accepts only a small number of cases each year. A ruling on a petition to hear the case usually is issued within 60 days. If a petition is granted, the Supreme Court schedules the case for a later point in its October to June term with a decision issued before the Court recesses in June.

Depending upon how the case proceeds, the parties will need to seek a “stay” of the Court of Appeals ruling. The stay request first must go to the Court of Appeals. If it rejects the request, the Supreme Court can grant a stay. A stay would maintain the current status of the challenged rules, i.e. the rules could not go into effect until a final decision from the Supreme Court.

Whether a Court of Appeals rehearing request or petition to the Supreme Court extends the time before the rules take effect is speculative. On one end of the spectrum is the possibility that the Court of Appeals quickly rejects any rehearing request and both the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court refuses to grant a stay. That would add only a few days to the current October 13 effective date. At the other end is that a stay is granted and the Supreme Court reverses the Court of Appeals. In the middle is a nearly endless series of possibilities. The closest thing to a certainty is that the rules will take effect on October 13 if nothing further is done.

NAHC has committed to pursue further appeals, including through the U.S. Supreme Court. Efforts are underway to expedite such action and to garner support from other interested parties. As with the Court of Appeals action, NAHC will be enlisting the support of outside organizations to participate as a “friend of the court.” At the Court of Appeals stage of the case, support came from several groups representing persons with disabilities, state Medicaid programs, and members of Congress.




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