UCSF Pharmacy experts counsel seniors on Medicare Part D April 29

By Wallace Ravven

The deadline for enrolling in the new Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Medicare Part D) program is May 15, and many Medicare-eligible seniors and people with disabilities are still confused or uncertain about the complex program. Many have not enrolled. Others have been enrolled in programs that might not best meet their particular medication needs.

The complicated enrollment process presents a major challenge for Medicare-eligible seniors and disabled peoples, particularly in multi-cultural and low-income communities.

On APRIL 29, UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty experts on Medicare Part D and specially trained doctor of pharmacy students will help Mission Creek seniors at a special Medicare Part D workshop. The one-and-one workshop is targeted to those with limited English skills. Students will counsel seniors in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Russian, and Spanish.


WHO: * UCSF School of Pharmacy, Department of Clinical Pharmacy.
    * Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
    * Mission Creek Community Mercy Housing California.
    * California State Assemblyman Leland Yee (D-San Francisco).

WHEN: Saturday, April 29, 2006
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon (official remarks begin at 10:00 a.m.)

WHERE: Mission Creek Community Mercy Housing California
  Second Floor Dining Room
  225 Berry Street
  San Francisco, California

INTERVIEWS: Organizers, facilitators and participants will be available for onsite interviews. Pre-briefings with program leaders can be arranged.   

SPONSORS:  Friends of the San Francisco Public Library
    Mission Creek Community Mercy Housing California

CONTACTS:  Preston Taylor:  415-677-2706
    Wallace Ravven:  415-476-2557

UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty experts and graduate students have already helped more than 2,500 Medicare enrollees understand the drug benefit program and enroll before the deadline.

Pharmacy faculty and students are in a key position to recognize the critical and urgent need to help make the plan understandable to all enrollees, especially the most vulnerable.

The UCSF School of Pharmacy has been a community partner in San Francisco since it was founded in 1872.


* The deadline to enroll (May 15) is quickly approaching.

* Recent polls and studies indicate that many eligible seniors are confused about the benefit and enrollment process, especially those with limited incomes, who are non-English speaking or who lack a significant support system.

* Those who do not enroll before the deadline will have to delay enrollment until the next open enrollment period, and they will have to pay a lifetime penalty.

* Pharmacists are the only health care providers trained as drug experts. They are on the front lines of the Medicare Part D transition.  They are serving as the essential bridge between patients and the healthcare system. They have the unique expertise and commitment to help patients navigate the enrollment process and make the best plan choice.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The workshop participant roster is full—this is not a request for pre-event publicity for additional attendees.