The Medicare Outreach, Education, and Advocacy Project is a partnership between the Ossen Foundation and the Center for Medicare Advocacy (the Center). The Center provides education, research, and legal assistance to advance fair access to comprehensive Medicare coverage and quality health care for older people and people with disabilities. The Medicare Outreach Project is bringing together key Windham-area organizations and leaders to develop the knowledge and expertise of health care, human services, and policy-making stakeholders. The goal is to build new relationships among area service professionals, expand upon those who can help people gain access to necessary home and community-based care, to the advocacy available at the Center for Medicare Advocacy. We have created a strong Advisory Team, provided training and community-building among Team members, created easy-to-understand materials in English and Spanish, presented a comprehensive training at Windham Hospital for community organizations, and developed and intake and referral process from the Advisory Team to the Center.
Medicare law provides coverage for long term home health care for older and disabled people who meet basic coverage criteria. It can be an important resource to help people stay home with necessary care. In practice, however, access to Medicare-covered home health care is often unfairly limited, particularly for people with chronic and debilitating conditions. Unfortunately, without information and advocacy, people go without the care they need, and that should be available under Medicare. The result is unnecessary harm and decreased quality of life for patients, families and caregivers.
We hope to help reduce the loss of Medicare home care in our area, and, while “acting locally,” also “think globally,” by bringing the problems faced by local Medicare patients to the attention of Congressional policy-makers to seek changes needed to further access to home care. The Center for Medicare Advocacy is a unique local resource, with a national reach, that can bring attention to our local concerns.