Frequent Senior Center attendee George Bender recently drew our attention to an issue important to many, communicating with your doctor. This is an often serious matter
that concerns and frustrates many. A brief article on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website ( updates.nia.nih.gov) made some key recommendations for optimizing the patient/
doctor visit: go with prepared questions, an updated list of your prescription and over the counter medications and whenever possible take someone with you as a backup set of ears.
Additional information on the website helped to further crystalize the issue. The new normal, like it or not, is that physicians average fifteen minutes face time with their patients. As many people have noticed a portion of the patient doctor visit, whether fifteen minutes or longer, is spent inputting into the computer. To ensure that your needs are heard and addressed, advance preparation is imperative. Advance preparation for a doctor’s appointment should include prioritizing one’s concerns and a concerted effort to communicate them in a clear
and to the point manner. Additional tips for optimizing the patient doctor interaction include being honest, requesting clarification of discussion points you don’t understand and taking notes as needed. Today’s doctor’s visits demand that patients adopt a new approach to obtain appropriate and needed attention from their physician.
Not that long ago a situation presented itself that led to a valuable learning opportunity. We received a call from someone who had decided to give up driving and wanted to retain a Massachusetts
ID. Having made the decision to no longer drive, it would be a considerable inconvenience to get to the Registry of Motor Vehicles to obtain an ID.
I was able to contact Michelle Ellicks, Community Outreach for MassDOT/Registry of Motor Vehicles via email. Michelle responded with good news. A driver can surrender their license by mailing it in with a Voluntary Surrender Affidavit to a designated individual at MassRMV in Boston. The driver surrendering their license will then be issued via the mail a Massachusetts ID at no cost. Please see me, the Outreach Coordinator for a copy of the Voluntary Surrender Affidavit and the mailing address.
Jocelyn Ehrhardt, MSW, Outreach Coordinator
Day: Tuesdays (Day & Evening Appointments)
Counselors: Pauline O’Bray/Wayne Wirtanen
SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) appointments are available with our SHINE Counselors. We also have some Tuesday evening appointments at 3:45, 5:00, 6:15, 7:30 PM. Please call the Senior Center at 508-393-5035 to schedule your appointment.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM MEDICARE FRAUD
Date: Thursday, June 9
Time: 11:00 AM
Did you know that $60 to $90 billion of our tax dollars are lost to Medicare fraud each year? Come meet a representative of the Massachusetts Senior Medicare Patrol (MA SMP) Program on
Thursday, June 9 at 11:00 a.m. at the Northborough Senior Center, 119 Bearfoot Rd., Northborough, MA 01532, and participate in a discussion on how to prevent, detect, report healthcare errors,
fraud and abuse. We all can have an active role in protecting Medicare for ourselves and future generations. This free information workshop will provide you with the tools to
become a more informed and engaged health care consumer. For more information and to reserve your seat please contact Kelly Burke at the Northborough Senior Center at 508-393-5035 or at
kburke@Town.Northborough.MA.US. Pre-Registration Required. If you cannot attend this workshop but have questions about your healthcare bills, Medicare Summary Notices, or other health
insurance explanation of benefits statements, please call the MA SMP Program office at 800-892-0890. This event is jointly sponsored by the Northborough Senior Center
and the Massachusetts Senior Medicare Patrol Program. The Massachusetts Senior Medicare Patrol Program is funded in part by grant number 90-MP0226-01-00 from the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living,Washington, DC 20201.
MEDICARE’S FREE PREVENTIVE SERVICES
An important goal for Medicare is to help people stay healthy by encouraging prevention. Medicare provides a number of preventive services. Many of these services are free whether you have traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, like an HMO.
Some of the free services include:
• Colorectal cancer screening (including colonoscopies)
• Pap tests and pelvic exams
• Bone mass measurements
• Cardiovascular screening
• Flu and pneumonia shots
• Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
• Depression screening
• Obesity screening and counseling
There are rules which state when and how often Medicare will pay for the above services. Medicare also covers a “Welcome to Medicare” visit and then Annual Wellness Visits in following years.
However, these visits are not the same as an annual physical exam. Annual physicals are not covered by Medicare, but they are covered by Medicare Advantage plans. For a complete list of free preventive services, go to www.medicare.gov or see a SHINE counselor. For further assistance with any Medicare issue, contact the SHINE Program. Trained SHINE volunteers offer free, confidential counseling on all aspects of Medicare and related health insurance programs. To schedule a SHINE appointment, call your local Senior Center. For other SHINE related matters, call 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636), then press or say 3. Once you get the SHINE answering machine, leave your name and number. A volunteer will call you back, as soon as possible.