SEATTLE (October 14, 2019)—Mary Suther, one of the founders of National Association of Home Care & Hospice and three-time chairwoman of the group’s board, was honored Monday, Oct. 14 with the Val J. Halamandaris Award for Caring, Innovation, and Inspiration.
NAHC President Bill Dombi said Suther “set the standards” for ethics in the homecare industry, and also helped lead it through the crisis that followed the creation of the Interim Payment System in the 1990s. Indeed, he said, the NAHC board kept Mary on as chair for an unprecedented third term because of her contributions.
“Mary helped us make it through today to bring this industry to where it is,” he said.
Suther, who appeared on stage at the Home Care & Hospice Conference and Expo in Seattle to accept the award, said that the members and advocates from the association were actually deserving of the credit.
“It was all you, working together,” she said.
Suther served four terms on NAHC’s board—three as chair—and is an honorary life member. She was named Member of the Year twice, Administrator of the Year, and was conducted into the Home Care and Hospice Hall of Fame. She was also a founding member and later president of the Visiting Nurse Association of America, which has given her its highest award.
She said one of her priorities was to unite the industry at a time when there were a number of splintered associations, companies, and more.
“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,” she said. “Where there were many voices, there is now one that speaks loudly for homecare.”
Suther, who rolled up in a mobility scooter, added that she is due for her third knee replacement next week, and this time opted for in-home rehabilitation—to cheers from the crowd.
“So some of you may be my providers next week!” she said.