NAHC Honors Home Care Legend Mary Suther
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) honored one of its founding members on Monday, October 14, presenting home care legend Mary Suther with the Val J. Halamandaris Award for Caring, Innovation, and Inspiration, at the Home Care and Hospice Conference and Expo in Seattle, Washington.
Ms. Suther, who has been a familiar face at NAHC conferences for decades, is a former chair of the association and has been a trusted adviser to other home care and NAHC leaders for even longer. She is an honorary life member of NAHC and served four terms on the Board of Directors. Named NAHC Member of the Year twice, Ms. Suther was also a founding member and later president of the Visiting Nurses Association of America.
Ms. Suther “set the standards” for ethics in home care, said NAHC President William A. Dombi, praising her for helping lead the industry through tough times in the 1990s after creation of the Interim Payment System in the late 1990s. Mary’s contributions to NAHC have been so critical that she served an unprecedented three terms as Board Chair because her contributions and leadership were considered so necessary.
“Mary helped us make it through today to bring this industry to where it is,” said Dombi. Suther humbly deflected the praise. “It was all you, working together,” said Suther, gesturing to a crowd that gave her a boisterous standing ovation.
One of her goals for home care and hospice, said Suther, was to unite its many and disparate organizations under a single umbrella, NAHC. “I said, you know what we need to do is circle the wagons and shoot out, not in, because we were shooting at each other. Where there were many voices, there is now one that speaks loudly for home care.”
Suther attended the conference in her mobility scooter, saying she would soon be receiving her third knee replacment, joking she didn’t see how that would be possible for someone with only two knees.
Suther added that for her post-surgery rehabilitation she would be using home health for her rehabilitation, an announcement that drew cheers from the packed assembly hall.
“Some of you may be my providers next week!” she cracked, drawing appreciative laughter, from members in the crowd, many of whom have known her for decades.
All of us at NAHC look forward to seeing Mary at many future conferences, and to continue to draw strength from her boundless wisdom and infectious enthusiasm.