In 1965, history was made when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law. It was a year later, in 1966, when more history was made when Ruth Constant set up the first home health agency in Texas under Medicare.
“Then, I went to graduate school. While, I was finishing graduate school, I was called by the then administrator of the same organization to come back because they needed me,” Dr. Constant said. “So, I went back and worked there, set up ten more agencies throughout Texas for this company.”
No too long after, Constant decided to venture out on her own and start her own agencies in Port Arthur, Beaumont and Wichita Falls.
“There was such a need throughout Texas. And of course at that time, there were very few VNA’s around Texas,” Constant said. And I just was driven. That’s why I did it.”
From the early days until now, one thing has remained constant in this woman’s life: her drive and passion have been an inspiration for so many, including a second generation employee, who’s mother also works at Wichita Home Health Service.
“She brings a smile to your face,” Chrystal Everett, Wichita Home Health Service Administrator, said. “She’s the Mother Teresa of home care.”
Considering both Dr. Constant and Saint Mother Teresa are both National Association for Home Care and Hospice Hall of Fame members, the comparison is understandable.
“That’s not true in my mind. I look so up to Mother Teresa,” Constant said.
Everett, like so many others, looks up to Constant as an inspiration in their careers in health care.
“Dr. C’s become a friend and someone that has taught me a lot about how to be a lady and how to be a professional lady, how to be respected,” Everett said.
For those same reasons and more, Jean Roberson has been working for Wichita Home Health for two decades.
“She looks out for every avenue to keep it strong and running. So, you know, she does everything,” Jean Roberson, Wichita Home Health Asst. Patient Services Director, said. “We are family.”
Constant’s also received numerous other accolades, in addition to visits with and best wishes from presidents and celebrities, all as she continues to keep a full schedule, which impresses so many of her colleagues.
“With her longevity in this industry, I mean it’s just admirable to be working that long, when she doesn’t have to,” Everett said.
Constant admits when it comes to staying active for as long as she has, every so often she gets ‘that’ question.
“My question is: ‘How old would you like me to be?'” said a laughing Constant. “My daughter reminded me. She said: ‘Mother, you’re going to have to quit lying about your age. Now, I’m two years older than you.'”
Kidding aside and even with all the accolades, when she does stop working, Dr. Constant said she wants to be remembered simply.
“That I was a good person.”