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Lenny Yanchar
Patient Testimonial

Lenny Yanchar

Lenny Yanchar likes to keep in touch with his friends. They also communicate a lot about issues that matter to veterans, especially healthcare.

The 74-year old retired salesman, who has three grown children and a grandchild, has had a long relationship with the VA system.

“I have COPD and have needed pulmonary rehab,” he says. “Then I needed surgery for lung cancer.” …

Joseph Godfrey
Patient Testimonial

Joseph Godfrey

Joseph and Dorothy Godfrey of Little Egg Harbor have been married for 62 years and have four children, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. According to Dorothy, “we have lived a good life.”

That good life, however, did not come without some bumps along the way. After two years in the Army during Vietnam, Joe hit the road, and drove for over 18 years as a Teamster, until one day while driving, when he was only 44 years old, he had to pull over, suffering from a brain stem stroke.

“He was so young,” recalls Dorothy. “It was pretty severe, but Joe was determined to recover and walk again.” …

Patient Testimonial

Patricia C.

“Our story starts when we found out my husband, a veteran of both the Army and the Navy, had coronary artery blockages following a heart catheterization. I reached out to the VA and was transferred to HeroCare Connect. On this day our lives changed. The phone was answered by a woman who said, ‘I’m writing all of this down. I will reach out to the VA. We work with them all the time.’ When she told me her name was Angel, I knew I just had an encounter with–a real angel. 

Thanks to our Angel, we navigated the VA process that can be long and complex. She maintained constant contact with the VA and received the approval to be treated. Angel had the compassion, empathy, understanding, confidence, and knowledge to see this through from the moment she picked up the phone to the moment she scheduled his appointment, showing dedication and commitment to our military and their families.”

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… But Lenny knows what he is eligible for. “A few times I ended up with a VA doctor. Sometimes you can’t wait two months or longer for specialty care. Now, when I make an appointment and they tell me it will be three months out, I can ask to go through the VA Community Care Program. That’s how I came to HeroCare Connect.”

When Lenny needed treatment for his COPD, then treatment for cancer and a back surgery, HeroCare Connect was the perfect solution each time. Chris Cattani, patient service specialist/navigator and Maggie Mary, program manager, were able to schedule Lenny’s appointments at both Deborah and Cooper to meet his exact medical specialty needs.

“I have nothing but positive things to say about this program. I don’t care if it’s rehab, a scan, or blood work. I have always been treated great. Always with respect. Always very pleasant to me. This team does it all for me.”

It is good news that he keeps sharing with his buddies. “We always communicate,” he says.

And the bonus for Lenny? “It’s also great that now I only have to drive 15 minutes for care instead of an hour and 45 minutes to East Orange. It really makes a difference,” he explains.

… An exercise suggestion to keep talking and moving his right arm likely played a role in his subsequent recovery, much of it spent at the VA.

Years later, Joe had an aneurysm and underwent quadruple bypass surgery. “The surgery was great, but Joe had a lot of complications,” explains Dorothy.

Those complications brought Joe to the HeroCare Connect program, where the wound care clinic at Deborah and the oncology program at Cooper “saved his life,” says Dorothy.

“We always went to the VA in Brooklyn or Staten Island, but going to the hospitals here was so much more convenient. HeroCare Connect works with the VA to get all my appointments and referrals straightened out.”

The HeroCare Connect team, however, has been more than just a medical touchpoint for Joe and Dorothy.

“I was a wreck when we found Joe’s cancer. Chris [Cattani, program navigator] gave me her number and told me to call her anytime, even on the weekend, if I needed to talk. Her heart is so big. And Maggie [Mary, Program Manager] helped me with transportation. I have cataracts, and I can’t drive at night, and because of COVID I wasn’t allowed to be there. Maggie stayed on the phone with me until 6:00 p.m. one night until she was able to get a transport ride home from Joe’s biopsy at the hospital. When the driver came, he was a knight in shining armor. This young man wanted to make sure Joe was warm and comfortable and covered him in four blankets because he was so cold, even though it was in the 80s that day. He even put the heat on to keep him warm and almost carried him into the house. Kudos to that driver.”

“We come from the school of hard knocks, but having people like this helping us has made a world of difference. HeroCare Connect cares about us, and that gives us strength.”