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Highly Trained Volunteers Expand Medicare Rights’ Reach

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At the Medicare Rights Center, we count on our 60 highly trained volunteer helpline counselors to help us answer thousands of questions for people with Medicare, their families and caregivers, and the professionals who serve them. To ensure that our volunteers provide expert counseling and assistance, we provide numerous training sessions throughout the year to keep them informed and up to date about the complexities of Medicare.

The trainings cover Medicare basics, benefits, and counseling skills. The goal of these trainings is to teach volunteers about Medicare and provide them with comprehensive Medicare counseling language and skills.

New helpline volunteers begin training with 4 to 6 weeks of Medicare Interactive Pro (MI Pro), Medicare Rights’ online curriculum. MI Pro—developed with Medicare Rights’ 28 years of health care counseling and educational expertise—provides interactive tools to help individuals learn how to navigate Medicare. While gaining a better understanding of Medicare with MI Pro, volunteers also listen in on live helpline calls to observe how the training is applied. Once volunteers are ready to start taking their own calls on the helpline, staff members observe and give them feedback.

A staff supervisor is always just steps away to assist volunteers when they get diffi cult questions on the helpline. The volunteers also attend monthly trainings on a range of Medicare topics to refresh their knowledge on common Medicare issues and address policy changes. The most recent volunteer update training provided an overview of counseling strategies and case study examples related to Medicare Part B enrollment issues.[x_image type=”none” src=”http://blog.medicarerights.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cup-of-joe-2017.jpg” alt=”” link=”false” href=”#” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=”” style=”margin: 0px;”]Pictured: Joe Baker provides update to Medicare Rights volunteersPicturedVolunteers are also invited to periodic Q & A sessions with Medicare Rights’ President Joe Baker. These “Cup of Joe” discussions are opportunities for volunteers to engage with Joe about policy issues that affect the Medicare program. A recent session focused on current threats to Medicare and how Medicare Rights is working to protect and strengthen the program.

Our volunteers, many of whom have been with Medicare Rights for fi ve years or more—and some for nearly 15 years—are integral to our work. Their dedication and commitment enables us to help tens of thousands of older adults and people with disabilities each year access the health care they need.

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