Little Rock, AR - In keeping with its commitment to positively impact and improve patient well-being and healthcare outcomes, the Case Management Society of America (CMSA) has announced its support of the efforts of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to maximize the awareness of seniors and their caregivers and families about the new landmark Medicare prescription drug coverage.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2006, Medicare will help pay for the prescription drugs people with Medicare need to stay healthy. Everyone with Medicare is eligible for this coverage, regardless of income and resources, health status or current prescription expenses. The plan requires seniors to join the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan from Nov. 15, 2005, through May 15, 2006, without monetary penalty. Enrollment is voluntary and participants must join a plan to get the coverage provided.
CMSA is an international non-profit 501(c)(6), multi-disciplinary professional organization dedicated to the support and advancement of the care management profession. It is based in Little Rock, Ark., and serves over 15,000 member/subscribers and 70 affiliate and pending chapters, and is therefore able to reach a substantial portion of the population. CMS is a Federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that administers the Medicare program and works in partnership with states to administer Medicaid and other programs. Covering almost 42 million people, Medicare is a social insurance program enacted in 1965 that provides health insurance to people age 65 and over and certain individuals under 65 with disabilities.
CMSA President, Susan A. Rogers, RN, BSN, CCM, offered comments on the partnership between CMSA and CMS:
"When CMS contacted CMSA for assistance, we were so excited to be able to lend a hand in this important endeavor. We understand that, as a care management association, we are in a unique position to assist seniors in understanding and enrolling in the program."
"CMSA is pleased to join with CMS as it is our opinion that case managers and our association are the perfect fit with CMS in spreading the word about the opportunities seniors have with this new program. Recognizing the importance of working together, we all agree that case managers will make a significant difference in working with patients and their families at the point of healthcare decision.
"Through CMSA, our local chapters and individual case managers will work closely with CMS to assist Medicare beneficiaries. CMSA is truly helping change the face of healthcare for the better!"
The comprehensive outreach planned by CMSA will target seniors through several avenues of action. First, local chapters will be encouraged to provide training courtesy of materials supplied by CMS to each of the 70 CMSA chapters. Case managers will learn how to help with triage and assistance sessions, how to inform hard-to-reach beneficiaries, and how to conduct person-to-person counseling and assistance within their individual caseloads. A recognition program for chapters and their members is also planned to encourage program participation.
CMSA also plans to electronically support the program via posting of information on the CMSA website, encouraging member discussion via CMSA web forums, and requesting that CMSA's corporate partners place information on their organizational websites. CMSA will regularly update its members with all new and relevant information through emailed messages and electronic links to downloadable materials and resources.
In addition, CMSA plans to inform attendees about the program at its upcoming Case Management Adherence Guideline (CMAG) advanced training sessions planned for St. Louis, Mo.; Boston, Mass.; and Orange County, Calif. Other ways CMSA intends to disseminate information on participation and assistance include promoting the program with print and web advertisements and by placing articles in related care management publications. CMSA will introduce this promotion with announcements in the September/October 2005 issue of The Case Manager, the official journal of CMSA.
Not only will this partnership serve to increase awareness in seniors, CMSA will also work with CMS to help inform patients, people with chronic diseases and/or disabilities, pharmacists, insurers, healthcare providers, and businesses. For more information about Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, visit www.cms.hhs.gov/partnerships or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). For individual state program information, the individual state health insurance assistance program (SHIP) provides counselors to provide free one-on-one help with Medicare questions or problems. More information about CMSA's participation will be updated at www.cmsa.org on a regular basis.