The Unicare Team
"From the hospital to the home, Unicare is with you every step of the way…making the transition simple and seamless." Everything we do at Unicare starts with our values -- a clear, strongly held set of core beliefs that reflect who we are and what you can expect from us. We created our core values together, as one company with guidance from our customers. Our values carry through our thoughts and actions every day, inspire innovation in our products and services, and drive our commitment to excellence in all we do
- Darren Friedman, RCPPresident
Darren is a Certified Respiratory Care Practitioner, specializing in pediatric and neonatal homecare with over 30 years’ experience in all aspects of respiratory care. He is an established entrepreneur with experience in corporate healthcare management encompassing finance, sales and marketing and overseeing all aspects of operation, including patient care modalities.
Darren has had a keen ability to maintain continued focus throughout the years on team building, superior product research and excellence in service. This includes constant updates in technology as well as the most current and innovative equipment research for ultimate patient confidence.
A car enthusiast, Darren enjoys building and racing sports cars and promoting autocross events. Other hobbies include bike riding and various outdoor activities. He participates in many fund raisers throughout the year, including Toys for Tots, animal rescue and private event fundraisers.
He is married with a teenage daughter, and lives in beautiful Ventura County, California with two rescue dogs and a cat.
"Fear is the thief of dreams."
- Lisa Friedman, RCPVice President
Lisa has been in and around the medical field her entire life. She began a career in Cardio-Pulmonary over 25 years ago and immediately found her passion working in neo-natal and pediatric intensive care. After many years traveling around the country working in myriad hospital settings, she saw a great need for more specialized homecare. Lisa joined her partner in creating Unicare Health Services and making it what it is today enjoying a passion of helping those most in need live the highest quality of life in the homecare setting. Overseeing daily operations coupled with patient care, Lisa enjoys the variety each day brings in the world of healthcare.
Lisa has also extended her studies and passions beyond Respiratory Care Practitioner to include Corporate Business Management, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Certified Professional Intuitive Life Coach, Stephens Minister, and she is a Certified Passion Test Facilitator.
Her hobbies include spending time in nature, gardening, reading and writing, and she enjoys traveling. Lisa is proud to co-run a local animal rescue and is a member of the International Women’s Leadership Association, The National Association of Professional Women, and Toastmasters International.
"I truly enjoy being a student of life always excited for personal growth as well as facilitating others to live their best life possible."
- Kurtis Hotchkiss, RCP, RRT, NPSClinical Coordinator
Kurtis has always felt a strong desire to do work helping others, and as a Clinical Coordinator at Unicare, he is able to fulfill his passion. He is responsible for ensuring that patients have all their needs met from hospital to home. Additionally, he acts as a liaison between the hospital, insurance and nursing companies.
The ability to build trust, comfort and a sense of friendship has helped Kurtis become increasingly successful in his role at Unicare. As a Respiratory Care Practitioner specializing in neonatal and pediatric care, he takes keen interest in staying on the cusp of the latest technology as well as any opportunities to provide the highest quality of life that the patient may not have otherwise been afforded.
In his free time, Kurtis enjoys hiking, going to the beach and playing a variety of sports. He is also a member of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the American Thoracic Association, participating in fund-raisers and other events conducive to advanced treatments and cures. His innate belief is that a healthy attitude and approach to life is the product of being well balanced both mentally and physically. He currently resides in Encino, California
“What you create in your mind, you create in the world.” – Your thoughts will lead to the reality you exist in.
- Don Bilicke, RCP, RRT, NPSRespiratory Care Practitioner
Don has had a lifelong desire to help people! He has been a Respiratory Therapist now for more than a decade, working primarily with pediatrics and neonates. He has extensive experience with ventilator and tracheostomy dependent children facilitating their day-to-day care and truly helping families learn the tools to better support their loved- one in the home care environment.
Don believes every day is an opportunity to learn something new. He stays up-to-date on the latest technological advances in the industry for better care outcomes and as an innovator himself, is constantly looking for better and more efficient ways to deliver quality health care to his patients.
In his free time, Don enjoys spending time with his family, mountain biking, traveling and learning. His favorite memories to create are adventures shared with his wife and daughter. Don not only wears the hat of Respiratory Therapist, but is now working on his bachelor's degree in Healthcare Administration carrying on his desire to be the best he can in his field.
"If there is a better solution.... find it." - Thomas Edison
- Natalie HotchkissOffice Administrator
As the Office Administrator at Unicare, Natalie takes pride in patient satisfaction, as well as maintaining all office procedures to ensure the best possible outcomes for every patient. One conversation with Natalie will prove that her number one priority is making sure all is running smoothly and needs are met.
While attending high school in Oxnard, Natalie focused on her strong passion to provide people services to those in need. As the first president of the Teaching and Educational Careers Academy (TECA), she was exposed to many volunteer opportunities, and was privileged to conduct an extensive research project regarding homeless students in Ventura County. The outcome of this project led Natalie to attend Oxnard College where she is majoring in History and Sociology. She then plans to extend her studies at California State University of Channel Islands.
Natalie’s life is full with family, career, and being a student, but she is still sure to create time to exercise, read and assist in the new non-profit organization Project Break Point which aids homeless families in the area. Natalie lives in Ventura County with her husband and toddler son.
"Cogito, ergo sum." (I think, therefore I am.)
- Ana VegaSupply Manager
Ana has been in the medical field for over 10 years serving as a lead biller and supplies coordinator. As Supply Manager at Unicare, she oversees a complex array of products with ease. A great deal of customer service is incorporated into her daily activities leaving families very pleased with her attention to detail!
She loves the daily variety associated with her work and prides herself in being able to trouble-shoot any issue quickly and effectively allowing comfort and confidence in meeting the patients' needs. Ana says, "Making sure patients received their orders accurately and on time is my number one concern."
Ana spends as much free time as possible with her family and her dog, Spike. They enjoy hiking and anything outdoors. She also loves to cook, trying out new recipes, and quiet time just reading a good book!
"Remember yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow!"
- Jerry AlcalaEquipment Technician
Jerry provides tremendous value to Unicare in his role as Equipment Technician. He spends his day helping patient's resolve any issues they are having with their medical equipment – whether troubleshooting or educating. He supports patients through in-person visits and/or providing assistance over the phone.
Jerry has been with Unicare since 2008 and like many of his colleagues, points to the company’s strong passion for patient care as the primary reason he enjoys his work. Developing trust, forging new relationships and watching patients regain their health puts a smile on his face. He prides himself on being friendly, outgoing and someone who can always offer help.
Jerry enjoys watching professional soccer and hockey games when he’s not working and playing with his dogs, and he says nothing is more important than family. He lives in Los Angeles County with his wife, 13-year old son, and two foster children.
"Respect your elders and they will respect you." - Develop strong ties to your family, because they will always be there to support you.
- Alex SolisBilling Specialist/Customer Service
Alex has been in healthcare customer service and billing for nine years. During this time, she has gained a true appreciation for all the moving parts that come with servicing a patient with special needs in the home.
Unicare patients especially appreciate the dedication she puts forth making sure that each case is handled with detail based on their individual needs. Her goal is to ensure that all patients/families understand what their options are to obtain the best coverage for the highest possible home care experience. Alex says, “I enjoy working for a company that helps the lives of our future generation and providing in a way that gives them the best possible quality of life now!”
In her leisure time, Alex also enjoys quite a variety! Appreciating as much time as possible with her daughter, she loves the beach, traveling, cooking and trying new recipes....and, sharing time with family and friends when possible. She also cherishes her quiet time just reading or watching a great documentary and calls herself a “music junkie”. Her short-term personal goal is to go sky-diving!
"Success is no accident... It is hard work, perseverance, gaining knowledge, sometimes sacrifice, and most of all love of what you’re are doing!"
- Wendy KregoskiBilling Specialist
Wendy has been a Medical Biller and Customer Service Representative for over 27 years. She has developed an expertise and ability to navigate through many changes in the industry during that time. This has allowed her to become invaluable in processing complex claims issues as well as serving as a supportive liaison between families and their insured.
Wendy thrives on variety, and working with special needs children and their cases each day, often brings on new challenges. Her daily goals include making sure patients and their families get the support they need accurately and efficiently with a genuine smile!
In her free time, Wendy enjoys horseback riding, going to the beach along with other adventures with her son, and alone time curling up with a good book!
"Kindness is a language which the blind can see and the deaf can hear." - Mark Twain
- Susan Arrelano, RCP, CRTTRespiratory Therapist
Sue is a Certified Respiratory Therapist and has been in the healthcare field for over 30 years. She has spent time working in hospitals, with private physicians and in homecare. The last 20 years have been dedicated to the needs of the homecare patient and it has truly become her passion. Being able to aid in the quality of one’s life day after day in the homecare setting gives her the opportunity to make a positive difference.
Being at Unicare has allowed Sue to continue caring for patients, while building healthy relationships with those in need of respiratory care. While working in homecare settings, she is able to comfortably educate her patients and their caretakers on equipment and their illnesses. Getting to know patients and their families is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.
Sue is a native Californian, and she enjoys spending time camping, boating, skiing and hiking whenever she can. She also runs a small side business raising, potting and selling artfully crafted succulents with her family. In her spare time, she loves to go on road trips through the Western United States with her husband. Sue resides in beautiful Ventura, California with her family and two rescue dogs.
"Our greatest strength lies in the gentleness and tenderness of our heart." - Rumi
- Melissa PinzonMedical Supply Specialist
As a Medical Supply Specialist, Melissa carries great pride and responsibility in her day to day activities. She manages supply orders, handles billing, customer service inquiries and medical authorizations. She cites the level of involvement she has with her customers as the most enjoyable aspect to her job.
Being able to visit a client at her home on Mother’s Day is just one example of the family environment and genuine care that Unicare provides. With over 6 years of experience in the industry, Melissa has a solid foundation in health care services and a genuine passion for it. She provides genuine care, while also having the ability to effectively problem solve in her role at the company, and, she attributes much of this to being a mother to two lovely daughters.
With her dedication to work and role as a devoted mother, Melissa still finds time for free time. She enjoys reading, staying active and spending time with her friends. She currently lives with her family in Ventura, County.
"You get what you give." - A good deed never goes unnoticed. People will always give back to you, what you give to them.