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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 Presents Private Duty Home Care Legislative Priorities at March on Washington

April 13, 2016 11:22 AM

A panel of policy experts at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice’s (NAHC) 2016 March on Washington detailed the top legislative issues related to private duty home care for advocates to discuss with Congress during their time in Washington. Patricia Drea, Chairman of the Private Duty Home Care Association, a NAHC affiliate, said that private duty agencies are facing a variety of new challenges. “There have been so many changes in the last couple years,” she said, noting the companionship exemption going away in 2015 as well as changes to the “white collar” exemption.

“I would suggest that you need—all of us, know matter how small your agency—you need an attorney that is an expert in wage and hour, because there are things that will come along that you will not know the answer to,” she said. “You must have access to expert guidance.”

Drea noted additional challenges including the employer mandate; more licensed states (now a total of 31, with the most recent being California); paid sick leave; and recruitment issues. “You have to become a recruitment and retention expert in private duty/private pay in order to serve the clients and not turn away clients.” Drea added, “She who has the caregivers wins.”

William A. Dombi, Vice President for Law at NAHC, provided an update on NAHC’s efforts with regards to the companionship exemption. In addition to NAHC’s case before the Supreme Court, Dombi said, there is pending legislation before Congress that would restore the companionship and live-in domestic services exemptions. He emphasized the importance of ensuring Congress understands that “you are not businesses just looking out for your own profit.” 

“Our position has long been that we support good wages, overtime compensation, and appropriate benefits to all home care workers,” he said. “On the private pay side, the party who pays the price is usually somebody with limited income, somebody with disabilities, or somebody of senior status. So we have to make care affordable.”

Following are summaries of the top legislative priorities related to private duty home care presented at the March on Washington:

Restore the Companionship Exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act. A companionship services exemption under wage and hour laws should be restored/maintained at the state and federal level until a comprehensive plan can be implemented that addresses service funding, worker health insurance, and career development. Congress should reverse the Department of Labor rule change that effectively eliminated the application of the companionship services exemption to home care. Alternatively, Congress should ensure that government-funded home care programs adequately reimburse employers for the added costs of overtime compensation and provide financial protection to consumers of private pay services through tax credits or other subsidies. Finally, Congress should enact reforms to the FLSA that establish a reasonable compensation structure for home care that respects the uniqueness of that employment setting where the patient/client is the primary focus of responsibility. That reformed structure should also properly address the unique aspects of “live-in” care where employees reside in the home of the client, receive room and board, and take on caregiving responsibilities throughout a 24 hour day.

Improve Home Care Services for Veterans.Congress should require the coverage of home care services by qualified home health agencies for all veterans who would prefer to stay in the home as opposed to a VA hospital or nursing home. Moreover, use of existing home care providers should be encouraged by the government to avoid increasing taxpayer costs by creating new VA provider entities. Further, Congress should ensure that the VA has the resources necessary to implement the long term care demonstrations of P.L. 108-422. Congress should also monitor the implementation of the CHOICE program to ensure that care access is improved, prohibit unreasonable waits for home care, and institute transparency and efficiency into the CHOICE program operations.

Require Coverage of Home Care and Hospice in Private Health and Long Term Care Insurance. Congress should require that private health and long term care insurance companies provide a standardized benefit package that includes coverage for home care and hospice. Any listing of “Essential Benefits” in private insurance offered through health insurance exchanges under the ACA should include home health care and hospice. Private long term care insurance policies should include coverage of the full range of home and community based care.

Encourage States to Adopt Home Care Quality of Care Standards Through Voluntary Accreditation or Licensure Laws.Congressshouldmandatedevelopmentofauniformmodel accreditation or licensure standards forhomecareagenciesandencouragestatestoadopt andimplementthemodellaws. ANAHCtaskforcepreviouslydevelopedaproposed modellicensurelawtoassiststatesinadoptingalicensurelaw or strengthening their currentlaw thatCongresscoulduseasastartingpoint. Thesemodellawsshould encompassalltypesof homecareprovidersincludingskilled,intermittentcare,personal care, infusion therapy, private dutynursing, staff registries and hospices. However, private, voluntary accreditation can be a viable alternative to licensure laws.

Modify Employer Responsibilities in Health Reform to Address Home Care-Specific Needs.Congress should amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to fund the cost of health insurance for full-time workers. Alternatively, PPACA should be amended to exempt home care providers from the employer responsibilities. Congress should also consider amending the definition of full-time to 40 hours a week or repealing the mandate altogether. Funding of worker health insurance can occur through a subsidy to all home care providers to supply health insurance, and/or provide a subsidy or tax credits to home care clients to cover the increased cost of care triggered by the employer responsibility provisions. Congress should help the states ensure that low wage home care workers have health insurance through Medicaid or otherwise. Congress should amend also PPACA to allow for a definition of a full time employee that evaluates the individual’s working hours over a 180 day period rather than the current monthly calculation. Finally, Congress should amend PPACA to require that all government health programs adjust provider rates to meet the additional costs that will be incurred by health care providers to make health insurance available to all their employees.




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