About a year ago, Mark Foti was a successful businessman in Lewes. He operated a barbershop, following in the tradition of his father, and enjoyed his modest apartment.
Health issues caused his productivity to spiral downward, leading to a hospital stay, the loss of his business, and eventually, the loss of his apartment.
It was at this point when his diabetes got the better of him, causing his blood glucose to spike to over 800, landing him in Beebe’s Emergency Department.
“I was at rock bottom. I didn’t know where to turn. And, then, like an angel, I met Holly Rader, a nurse practitioner with Beebe’s CAREs program,” Mark recalls.
After his hospital stay, Mark ended up at Beebe’s Advanced Care Clinic in Long Neck. The clinic serves as a bridge for those who either do not have primary care physicians or who cannot get an appointment with a primary care for more than a week after a hospital stay. The care providers at the clinic are able to help individuals meet their immediate health needs prior to seeing a primary care provider.
“I met Michelle Shockley at the Advanced Care Clinic and told her my story,” Mark said. “I wasn’t really able to focus on what I needed to do for my health because I didn’t have a place to stay at that time. Michelle connected me to Holly.”
The CAREs program is operated by Beebe’s Population Health team in an effort to work directly with community members who are facing severe health issues as well as personal issues that could cause them to return again and again to the hospital.
CAREs stands for: care coordination, access, referral to community resources, and empowerment of patients.
“When I met Mark he was homeless, uninsured, unable to afford his medications, and had complex medical needs,” Holly said. “He was a perfect candidate for the CAREs program, which was created to help patients experiencing difficult situations, like Mark, get back to living the best life possible.”
Holly, along with her team, went to work. They collaborated with community agencies to assist Mark with housing, food, payment for medications and VA benefits. The team connected Mark with a shelter in Georgetown and later helped secure him a spot at the Home of the Brave in Milford, since he is a veteran.
In addition, Holly created an individualized care plan with Mark so that he could learn about his health issues, which included uncontrolled diabetes, an enlarged prostate, and heart issues, which required open heart surgery earlier this year.
“Once we are able to provide a patient with essential items they need for life and get their health on track, then they are able to focus on their personal goals and dreams again.” Holly said, “CAREs is a very unique program here in Sussex County, and it really showcases Beebe Healthcare’s community focus and steadfast commitment to helping those who need support.”
Mark credits Holly and the existence of the CAREs team with his return to health.
“To be honest, I am embarrassed that I ended up in my current situation. However, to Holly’s credit, she never made me feel anything except empowered, and she was there to help motivate me even during my darkest hours,” Mark said. “I can never repay her or the CAREs team at Beebe for the support I have received. I have been humbled by the way they are able to provide non-judgmental support and care for me.”
Mark still has some health hurdles to overcome, including another upcoming surgery; however, he is optimistic for the future.
“I would have never been able to find a place to live or find resources to help pay for my medications without the CAREs team. I shudder to think where I would be right now if they didn’t exist,” Mark said. “Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that seem impossible to overcome. It’s not ideal. However, I am proud to live in a community where CAREs exists because I now know the importance of this group and I can never thank Holly or her team enough. They saved me and for that I will be always grateful.”
Photo Caption: Mark Foti and Holly Rader discuss his care plan. Foti credits Rader and her team with helping him deal with recent health and personal issues.
By: Rachel Swick Mavity