CarePartners Program Turned Life Around
January 15, 2018
Adam Russell (left) with Jeff Slack, CarePartners Case Manager for Lincoln County.
Five years ago, Adam Russell was in and out of the hospital with high blood sugar and lapsed into a diabetic coma. The LincolnHealth physicians and nurses were telling him everything he needed to do to better manage his diabetes, including to start taking insulin.
However, Russell had no health insurance at the time and could not afford the necessary insulin. With support from Jeff Slack, the Lincoln County Case Manager for MaineHealth’s CarePartners program, a program which helps low-income and uninsured people get the healthcare services they need, Russell was able to get the care he needed to improve his health.
He is now the manager of a local store and the co-owner of a plowing business. He also has a private health insurance plan through his employer.
“Jeff’s help probably saved my life, for the most part,” stated Russell. “Without his help, I wouldn’t be able to afford the insulin—even just the pens were very expensive.” The necessary insulin pens would have cost $6,000 per year without insurance or financial assistance.
Slack helped Russell receive free insulin through the pharmaceutical companies’ Patient Assistance Programs and enrolled him in a LincolnHealth diabetes education course. Russell also received assistance paying for his hospital bills through LincolnHealth’s financial assistance program.
The insulin pens helped Russell’s health improve to a point where he could begin working more and once he was promoted to management, he could afford a private health insurance plan.
His private health insurance plan then helped him pay for a much-needed insulin pump (a medical device that helps keep blood sugar levels more constant) which helped Russell improve his health even more. He had needed an insulin pump for years, but none of the financial programs he had access to at the time made the $15,000 pump a possibility. This step-by-step approach to wellness and self-sufficiency is what CarePartners strives to achieve for patients.
Russell is one of the many Lincoln County residents who Jeff Slack has helped get the care and medications they need at LincolnHealth and throughout Maine. With the help of CarePartners case managers like Jeff, free and low cost medications are secured for patients through the pharmaceutical companies’ Patient Assistance Programs. Working as patient navigators, they also help coordinate referrals to services and resources when needed by connecting with volunteer providers, hospitals and medical resources.
“I don’t really consider this a job,” Slack explained of his role as a case manager. “I love helping people get the assistance they need. But my favorite part is watching my clients prosper and give back to the community after they have been helped.”
A variety of assistance programs are available for those with and without health insurance.
“A lot of people need help paying for their medications, especially the elderly, who may fall through the ‘donut hole’ meaning that they have run out of insurance money to pay for medications,” stated Slack. “Many are surprised that we can help them with this.”