Contractor Responsible for Educating Medicare Beneficiaries in Sacramento Area About New Drug Benefit Replaced
The Area 4 Agency on Aging in Sacramento has terminated a contract with the Legal Center for the Elderly and Disabled to oversee Medicare counseling services, the Sacramento Bee reports. The legal center was in the third year of a four-year contract to act as administrator for Sacramento's Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program.
The counseling program, which has 60 trained volunteers in its Sacramento office, offers free one-on-one counseling to seniors in El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties.
Following complaints of low morale from volunteers and ongoing concerns about the stability of the legal center's finances and poor management, the agency's board decided last week that the problems were serious enough to warrant termination of the $400,000 contract.
Legal Services of Northern California, another not-for-profit group, will take over administrative duties at the counseling program for the contract's final year.
According to the Bee, the "change is coming at a crucial time," with the new Medicare prescription drug benefit set to begin Jan. 1, 2006. Counseling program staff will help explain provisions of the new drug benefit to Medicare beneficiaries as information is mailed out and enrollment dates approach (Weaver Teichert, Sacramento Bee, 5/20).
Additional information on the Medicare drug benefit is available online.