At Marathon Health, we’ve built a care team who makes improving employee health their life’s work. We focus on strengthening patient moments at every turn to create trust and better relationships with patients.  

Our main goal: Deliver better health outcomes that matter to employees so they can live the life they want, whether that means having more energy to play with their kids to managing their diabetes better so they can take that 3-mile hike.  

It’s a simple, but proven concept. When employers provide employees convenient access to high-quality healthcare through onsite, Network or virtual primary care centers, the majority of employees do engage with the services and become healthier. A healthy employee equals a more productive employee, and everyone sees the savings. 

Rather than focus on transactions and the number of patients we see, which is often the case in traditional healthcare offices, our healthcare teams take the time to create better connections, says Marathon Health CEO Jeff Wells. “Each connection is often the first step toward something magical in the life of those we serve,” Wells says. “Together, we truly can transform lives.” 

We recently checked in with various Marathon Health care teams across the country to identify ways they’re improving employee health, especially as the global pandemic created such uncertain times. Some of their responses may surprise you.

Mom Lets Diabetes Go Unchecked Until Marathon Health Care Team Outreach Call

Of the dozen or so outreach calls Physician Assistant Kathryn Lovoi made in May to help employees understand the benefits of Marathon Health, she managed to convince one employee to get the COVID-19 vaccine. And she probably helped save the life of another. 

“We happened to leave a message for a patient who really needed to hear it,” Lovoi says. “This patient had diabetes that had gone largely uncontrolled for the past four years. After the birth of a child with significant medical problems, who required surgery, NICU and a lifetime of cardiology appointments, she let her own health go by the wayside, and was just hoping the diabetes wasn’t getting too out of hand.” 

After receiving a voicemail message from her Marathon Health provider, the woman called back.  

“She asked if she could bring her son, stating that with the COVID pandemic, and restrictions in place, she didn’t think she could even seek care with a child in tow,” Lovoi explains. “We reassured her this was fine and scheduled an in-person appointment. We saw her in the clinic this week, updated her labs, got her a glucometer, and began medication therapy.  

“We reminded her that her kiddo needs her around, and for the first time in years, she felt she could actually pull off taking care of herself,” Lovoi says. “Even if we don’t make a single additional phone call this month, those 12 outreach calls were all worth it for this patient.”

Employee Thanks Care Team for Saving His Life

After meeting an employee while administering COVID-19 vaccines at Wayne Farms in Decatur, Alabama, Nurse Practitioner Patricia Catlin says that same employee walked into the onsite health center two months later just to thank the Marathon Health care providers. 

He had spoken of chronic leg and kidney pain while getting the vaccine, and followed the care providers’ advice to make an appointment in the medical clinic for the next day. 

“His medical issues were numerous, but they are being addressed and corrected one at a time,” Catlin says. “He came by today to thank us. He is feeling like a ‘new person.’  He said, ‘I am telling everyone in the plant about you guys. You saved my life.’ Those are the moments that take all the bad away, and rejuvenate us to keep driving on.”

Improving Employee Health Starts With One Phone Call

Angela McFadden, the Marathon Health Nurse Practitioner for Chesapeake Public Schools, says making a simple phone connection with an employee can not only make someone’s day, it also helps to improve health and decrease anxiety. 

“It’s called a trifecta!” McFadden exclaims.  

During her outreach efforts, McFadden spoke to a 67-year-old woman who had recently undergone two surgeries and wasn’t able to get around much. 

“Throughout the [call], she kept saying how anxious she was about catching COVID-19, given the amount of medical follow-up she needs to have (physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.). She didn’t feel comfortable going to appointments unvaccinated,” McFadden explains. “She signed up on the state’s website and was waiting to get a call. I asked her if I could assist her and try to schedule an appointment to get vaccinated. She gave me a resounding ‘Yes, can you really help me with that?’ 

“I went online to the local pharmacy chains that are offering the vaccine while I had her on the phone. I was able to schedule her first dose the next day at a local Walgreens and her second dose at the end of the month,” McFadden says. “She was overjoyed, relieved, and excited.  

“The best part of all is she said she doesn’t answer her phone much, but saw Marathon Health Center show up on her caller ID and thought to herself, ‘I better get this, it may be good news,’ and it was,” McFadden adds.

“I Have a Bug in My Ear.”

One of the benefits of a dedicated onsite medical clinic means you can get treatment when you need it, and avoid the hassle of a visit to the ER or urgent care facility, says Nurse Practitioner Sherry Little.  

“I was walking out the door to go to lunch, gym attire and all. A patient met me at the door,” Little says of a recent encounter. “He said, ‘Sherry, I have kind of an emergency. I have a bug in my ear and I don’t know what to do.’   

“Story was he was riding a motorcycle and a bug flew into his ear. We flushed his ear, retrieved a moth — which was still alive, and he left happy!” Little says. “He thought of us first and we saved him a visit to the ER or urgent care.” 

Grateful for Improving Employee Health

Physician Assistant Danielle Callanan describes one connection that makes her feel grateful and proud of the work she’s doing with Marathon Health. 

“I had a patient break out in tears when we told her we could dispense her inhalers from our office at no cost to her,” Callanan says. “She was unable to afford them and she was using five-year-old nebulizer medication to get by. 

“She has since scheduled her full physical and annual screening labs, which she hasn’t had in over five years!” Callanan says. “She has also scheduled appointments for her husband and her kids, who have never had a primary care provider.”  

Alternative Dosing Helps Mini-Stroke Patient Get Back on Track

With no primary care provider and someone who “was using the ER for everything,” Nurse Practitioner Julie Giardina says she was happy to sign up a new employee for Marathon Health benefits. 

“The member had a mini stroke earlier this year, and while they had followed up with specialists right after the event, they had missed the remaining follow-up appointments due to accruing medical bills and inability to pay,” Giardina says. “Our outreach efforts brought this member in, and we were able to find out that prescribed medications were not being taken, especially the cholesterol medication, due to inability to swallow large pills! It has been months since any medication has been taken!  

“We were able to navigate this major barrier with alternative dosing forms and hopefully get this member back to taking a much-needed medication,” Giardina says. “THIS IS WHY WE ARE HERE.” 

About the Author: Kristy Esch

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