CA Access News

November 2008

In this Issue: Features | Partner Spotlight | Calendar | Welcome New Partners | In the News | Interesting Information | Contact Us


CMS Reminds Medicare Beneficiaries to Review and Compare Their Current Drug Coverage

By Peter Bauer, Region 9 State Health Insurance Information Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP) Liaison, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems recently announced the 2009 Medicare prescription drug and Medicare Advantage plan options. Approximately 97 percent of beneficiaries enrolled in a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) will have access to Medicare drug and health plans in 2009 whose premiums would be the same or less than their coverage in 2008.

"As we enter the fourth year of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program, we continue to see high satisfaction rates among beneficiaries and high participation among plans," said Weems. "However, plans do change their offerings from year to year. Some beneficiaries may see significant premium increases or changes, such as reduced coverage in the gap, if they stay in the same prescription drug plan in 2009. We encourage individual beneficiaries to review how their plans are changing and what other options are available to them to determine which plan best meets their needs."



Larry Lucas
Think Twice Before Flushing Your Old Medicine

By Larry Lucas, Vice President, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)

Like many of you, I care a great deal about the health of our environment. As a parent, I want to be sure my kids can enjoy the benefits of clean air and water. I also want to be sure children can enjoy and respect all that the great outdoors offer. To achieve this, we all must do our part to responsibly protect the environment – including ensuring the safe disposal of medications.



Partner Spotlight

CPAT Welcomes 700th Member!

Darin M. Camarena Health Centers, Inc.

CPAT is delighted to welcome Darin M. Camarena Health Centers, Inc. as our 700th member!

The mission of Darin M. Camarena Health Centers, Inc. is to provide, with dignity, the best possible health care to those it is privileged to serve.

Darin M. Camarena Health Centers, Inc., formerly El Concilio De Madera, incorporated in 1978 and opened its doors in September of 1980 in a renovated facility with a modest practice of 1,500 medical patients. Services consisted of primary health care and health education for perinatal patients. Over the last 26 years, it has grown to become one of the largest local community-based health care providers offering both medical and dental services to nearly 25,000 patients in three state-of-the-art facilities in Madera and Chowchilla.

Web site



CPAT Webinar:
"Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D): Understanding Open Enrollment for 2009"

With the open enrollment period for Medicare Part D quickly approaching, it is important for organizations working with Medicare eligible patients to gain an understanding of the Medicare program, the choices available and benefits of participation. This program will give you the tools you need to help the people you serve make confident and informed decisions about their coverage.

Through this Webinar, participants will learn:

  • How the Medicare Part D works and the changes in 2009.
  • The important Medicare Part D dates and enrollment resources that are available.
  • How patients can change their Medicare Part D plan during the Open Enrollment period.
  • Resources available to help low-income patients pay for their medicines

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
11:00 -11:45 a.m.
RSVP Required


For more information, please contact a CPAT Consultant:

Southern California: Brandon Stephenson at (323) 466-3445 or

Northern California: Charlotte Phillips at (916) 658-0144 or

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance Bus Comes to California!

The PPA's "Help is Here Express" Bus is moving through California -- November 30, 2008 through December 14, 2008. Check the CPAT Calendar of Events for more information on dates and locations on the bus tour and upcoming partner conferences, events and seminars in your area. If you would like your event listed on the calendar, please contact Charlotte at

CPAT December Luncheons:
"African American Men and Diabetes and Hypertension: Outreach Strategies That Work"

Featuring Dr. Bill Releford, Founder of the Diabetic Amputation Prevention's African American Men's Outreach Program

San Francisco
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
12 noon - 2 p.m.
"1300 on Fillmore" Restaurant
1300 Fillmore Street

Los Angeles
Thursday, December 4, 2008
12 noon - 2 p.m.
Trinity Baptist Church
2040 W Jefferson Blvd


For more information or to RSVP, contact Gwen Moore at (323) 954-3777 or

CPAT Holiday Receptions

Tuesday, December 9
1415 L St., Sacramento, CA 95814
4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 10
Shanghai 1930
133 Steuart Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 17
Location TBD
San Diego, CA
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 18
El Paseo Inn
11 Olvera St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.


Welcome New Partners

Join Now


In the News

Medicare officials advise seniors to shop around
San Francisco Chronicle, September 25, 2008
Federal health officials encouraged Medicare participants to shop around for their prescription drug coverage next year because it could include significant price increases or changes regarding which drugs the plans will cover.

Medicare strengthens anti-fraud program
Senior Spectrum, October 13, 2008
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced an aggressive plan to locate and prevent waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare system as it continues its efforts to preserve Medicare assets.

State cuts take bite out of Social Security checks of some Modesto-area seniors
Modesto Bee, October 28, 2008
State health cuts will wring $96.40 per month from the Social Security checks of about 57,000 seniors and disabled people in California, including hundreds in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and Sierra foothills. The cuts affect some low-income residents who are dually eligible for health benefits from the federal Medicare program and the state Medi-Cal system.

Mercy plans around Medicare cut
Merced Sun Star, September 24, 2008
Beginning Oct. 1, Medicare and Medicaid will no longer pay for medical care if patients get an infection while they're being treated at a hospital. For a lot of hospitals, that's bad news because they'll be picking up some of the bills for patient care. But at Mercy Medical Center Merced, it will be business as usual.

Delays in Medicare payments hurt doctors
Ventura County Star, October 6, 2008
Because of a change in the way Medicare handles claims and a switch in carriers earlier this year, a backlog of California physicians waiting for payments has developed. In May, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services changed the way that it handles basic claims to maintain program integrity and avoid potential fraud by creating a national provider identifier for doctors.

Men find roadblock to opting out of Medicare
San Francisco Chronicle, October 8, 2008
Three men who say they have adequate health coverage and enough money to pay for their health care needs want to opt out of hospital coverage under Medicare. Federal rules say they cannot collect Social Security benefits if they do that.


Interesting Information


  • Medicare is a health insurance program for people age 65 or older, under the age 65 with certain disabilities, and any age with permanent kidney failure (called "End-Stage Renal Disease"). You must have entered the United States lawfully and have lived here for 5 years to be eligible for Medicare.(2)
  • Of the 36 million people living in California, there are nearly 4 million Californians over the age of 65 who are eligible for Medicare.(1)
  • Nearly 6 million people in California are living with a disability that might make them eligible for Medicare.(1)
  • More than 1.4 million beneficiaries have enrolled in Medicare's Part D program since June of 2006, totaling more than 39 million people with Medicare now receiving comprehensive prescription drug coverage.(3)
  • In 2007, there were about 900,000 enrollments for Medicare, including 350,000 that were done online.(3)


1. U.S. Census Bureau – California Quick Facts
2. "What is Medicare?" Fact Sheet
3. MEDICARE DRUG PLANS STRONG AND GROWING, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Press Release, Tuesday, January 30, 2007


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