Inspired by SHIP Conference

By Darren Hotton, Utah SHIP Director

I attended the 18th Annual State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) Directors’ Conference earlier this month, down in Atlanta, Georgia. It was great visiting again with my fellow SHIP directors, counselors, community partners, and CMS staff. I always look forward to learning new and innovative ways to grow my local SHIP program, and this year’s program didn’t disappoint. If you missed it, check out the presentation materials available online.

There were plenty of terrific breakout sessions, including ones on best practices in volunteer recruitment, using social media to grow your SHIP, and casework help with deaf and hard of hearing communities and clients with dementia. I can only speak for the sessions I attended, but I’m confident all the breakout sessions pushed the SHIP network to look at other avenues to help improve and enhance their programs.

The plenary sessions were also outstanding, giving us all plenty of food for thought. For example, Dr. Adrienne Mims gave a thought provoking talk on the importance of understanding older Americans’ health. It’s amazing how people with Medicare forget that more prescriptions aren’t always a good thing. Dr. Mims’ presentation reminded the SHIPs that we need to speak with people with Medicare about adverse drug effects. In another session, Kathy Greenlee explained how changes to the Administration on Aging fit with the new federal agency where she serves as administrator, the Administration for Community Living.

For me, one of the highlights each year is the SHIP recognitions. What a wonderful feeling it is for a local SHIP network to get praise from fellow SHIPs. There’s no greater reward than having peers recognize all our hard work over the past year.

I want to thank CMS and the conference planning committee for another great conference. I look forward to improving my program this year with the information I got.

2012 Train-the-Trainer Workshops begin next week

With a mild winter and warm spring past us, this year it’s hard to tell where one season ends and another begins. For those of us in CMS’ Division of Training, a sure sign that summer has arrived is a new round of National Medicare Train-the-Trainer Workshops!

Each year we host a series of two-and-a-half day, face-to-face training events in major cities across the country. Our goal is to share consistent, accurate, current and reliable information with partners who train others—”training the trainer”—so they’re best equipped to help people with Medicare make informed health care decisions.

Our Train-the-Trainer Workshop is a perfect opportunity to learn about changes to CMS programs you may have missed. If you’ve been to one of our workshops in past years, it’s a good chance for you to brush up on your training skills.

We try to keep our sessions lively, interesting and memorable with knowledge checks, exercises, and casework video scenarios. This year’s workshops include:

  • Information on key aspects of Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and related legislation
  • A half-day basic track if you want a refresher or if you’re new to Medicare
  • A Web learning resource session to help you find information
  • Plan Finder updates
  • Casework exercises
  • Medicare training modules and workbooks
  • Opportunities to network with CMS staff and other partners who share your commitment
  • A 2012 Resource Card—with the training modules, videos, job aids and more!

Learn more about the workshops and register by visiting our Train-the-Trainer Workshops Web page.  We hope to see you in a workshop this summer!

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