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ORH Newsletter-2008, Ed. 3 Share This OHSU Content

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The 25Th Annual Rural Health Conference Was a Huge Success—Thank you for being part of it!!!

One can find the presentations from this year’s conference here

Medicare's annual open enrollment is from November 15th to December 31, 2008. Plans Change. People Change. Shop and Compare.

Each year plans change what they cost and what they cover. Now is the time for people with Medicare to review the changes being made by their current plan and compare it to others to make sure it still meets their needs. Those who don't have prescription drug coverage also can enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan during open enrollment.

All people with Medicare should:

  • Review the 2009 costs for their current drug and health plan. (Look at the premium, co-pays, and deductibles.)
  • Compare the cost and coverage to other plans in their area. (Check to see if the plan covers their medicines, works with their pharmacy and doctors, and covers the services they need.)
  • Choose a plan that meets their needs.

Caregivers, family members, providers, and others who assist Medicare beneficiaries will find helpful tools and can use these resources to compare the cost or benefits of Medicare health or prescription drug plans in the area. They can get answers to Medicare questions, learn how to lower health care costs and stay healthy, and find out about local resources in the community. By working together for better health, we can reach those who are unaware, unsure, or unable to make their health plan decisions and to apply for extra help.

CMS also has a number of resources available for Medicare beneficiaries to use when reviewing and comparing plans. The Medicare Planfinder, is an online resource that provides tailored plan comparison information—including cost, coverage, and convenience—of each prescription drug and health plan. Please note that by mid-October, the Planfinder will be updated with 2009 information for all prescription drug and health plans. Beneficiaries also can get the same information by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). In addition, throughout the month of October beneficiaries will receive the annual Medicare & You 2009 handbook, a guide that explains Medicare coverage. Local organizations such as the State Health Insurance Assistance Programs and thousands of other Medicare partner organizations also are available to provide personalized assistance throughout the fall.

Here are links to news in the Spotlight for the upcoming annual open enrollment season:

Here are links for some Tools to help in choosing a plan:

To get their Medicare questions answered, beneficiaries can:

  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or for TTY users, call 1-877-486-2048.
  • Visit and become a user of MyMedicare.gov to get Medicare information any time.

Wanted: Rural Physicians

Looking for an opportunity that provides great experience, quality of life, and financial benefits? Consider branching out to a rural practice.

Congress Extends Conrad Visa Waiver Program

The US House and Senate sent to the president H.R. 5571, legislation extending the Conrad J-1 program through March 6, 2009. The program allows state health departments to request J-1 visa waivers for up to 30 foreign physicians per year to work in federally designated health professions shortage areas or medically underserved areas. The bill originally passed the House in May, but was amended by the Senate to shorten the extension from five years to six months. In addition to extending the program, the bill doubles to 10 the number of physicians per state who may serve in facilities that are located outside medically underserved areas but which treat patients from those areas. Find out more

Chartbook: Dental Health and Access to Care among Rural Children: A National and State Portrait (Executive Summary)

Although children's dental health in the U.S. has improved over recent decades, a subset of children continues to suffer dental disease severe enough to constitute a public health problem. This Chartbook examines dental health status, use of preventive services, and dental insurance among rural and urban children. The Chartbook provides information specific to rural children, and in particular rural minority children, not available in similar detail from other sources. This information can be used at the state level for program planning and assessment.

C-Suite! Your Nurses Aren't Happy. Are You Listening?

Experiences of Critical Access Hospitals in the Provision of Emergency Medical Services (Policy Brief)

This brief presents NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis research conducted to better understand the experiences of CAHs in operating an EMS unit. Using key informant interviews, researchers examined motivations for acquiring EMS services and the effect of these services on the level of emergency care available in the community. The benefits and challenges that CAH providers face in operating EMS services are discussed.