Press Release             

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Akiko Takano
Deputy Director of Communications
212-204-6214
March 31, 2010

Volunteers Needed to Teach Medicare Benefits and Advocacy Skills
to Westchester Residents

-- Volunteer Training to Take Place in May --

New York, NY—The Medicare Rights Center is currently seeking Westchester volunteers for three Westchester programs: Seniors Out Speaking on Medicare (SOS Medicare), Health Advocacy Players, and the SeniorBenefitsInformationCenter.

“The goal of all three programs is to give people the tools to access Medicare benefits for themselves, family members and friends,” said Lois Steinberg, Ph.D., Director of Westchester Programs for the Medicare Rights Center. “Health care is becoming increasingly complicated and expensive. Being informed is the key to navigating the Medicare system and getting the care you need.”

The programs, which are conducted in senior centers, senior residences and libraries throughout Westchester County, include:

Seniors Out Speaking on Medicare (SOS Medicare): Volunteers in this award-winning program reach over 1500 senior center members each month with brief presentations on Medicare benefits, rights and options.

Health Advocacy Players: Volunteers in this program work in teams, telling stories that show people how to stand up for their rights in a nonconfrontational way in difficult situations with health care professionals. For example, participants learn “How to Talk to Your Doctor” and “How to Navigate a Hospital Stay.” More than 1150 Westchester residents participated in these interactive programs in 2009.

Senior Benefits Information Center Counselors: People who prefer to help others on a one-on-one basis can volunteer as a counselor at one of the Senior Benefits Information Centers, which are located in public libraries in Yonkers, Tarrytown and Shrub Oak. Counselors have access to a wide range of resources with which to help people find answers to Medicare questions and learn about public benefits for older adults, including food stamps (also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), programs to help with the cost of prescription drugs, and the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE). Expansion to other libraries is planned in the near future.

Volunteers must meet the following requirements:

Retired health care professionals are encouraged to apply.

People who would like to volunteer for any of the three programs must apply and are also required to attend four half-day training sessions:

WHEN:            May 10, 11, 12 and 14 (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday)
                        10:00 am to 12:30 pm

WHERE:          Westchester Library System Office
                        540 White Plains Road
                        Tarrytown

To apply, learn more about becoming an SOS Medicare volunteer, a Health Advocacy Player or a Senior Benefits Information Center counselor, or to schedule a program for your organization, call 1-800-480-2060, ext. 6268, or 212-204-6268.

SOS Medicare received the Met Life Award for “Excellence in Older Volunteer Program Management.” In 2008. Dr. Steinberg, a resident of Larchmont, was named a Purpose Prize Fellow by Civic Ventures, as part of its major initiative to recognize Americans over 60 who are leading a new age of social innovation and tackling the toughest problems in their own communities.

To learn more about the Medicare Rights Center’s Westchester programs, visit http://www.medicarerights.org/about-mrc/community-programs-westchester.php

 

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Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.

 

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