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Do you have comments or concerns about your Medicare coverage? Issues regarding getting your needed prescriptions from your Part D plan, or a Medicare Advantage plan representative's marketing practices? Let us know at .

We are dedicated to making Medicare's program work well for all beneficiaries. Your feedback from your own or your client's concerns and experiences with Medicare, will guide our Medicare advocacy efforts with key policy and decision-makers in both California and nationally with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Congress.

  • 02Apr

    The infographic below effectively highlights some of the failures of our own health care system. While the U.S. has some of the highest health care costs, it is not even ranked in the top 50 countries for life expectancy. This begs the important question of: “If all this money being spent is not being used to increase quality of life or life expectancy, then where is it going?”  The infographic, contributed by Best Nursing Masters, concludes with identifying some of the common traits found in the residents of countries with the highest life expectancy, and encourages people to turn away from looking for a “cure” for symptoms, and instead to focus on developing healthy lifestyles.

    Healthcare Spending

  • 19Mar

    It can be challenging for elders living on a fixed income to eat well. Yet, healthy nutrition is essential to prevent illness, and to maintain an active and independent life. The National Council on Aging recently put together 3 short videos on how to get help paying for food, ways to shop smart, and tips to make comfort foods healthier. Please view and share with your clients and loved ones.

    Elders with low-incomes, can also visit NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp website to download their state’s application for food assistance.

  • 18Feb

    Where can people turn to get unbiased information about the quality of care provided by the thousands of doctors, hospitals, and long-term care providers in California? A new website,, is one good place to go. It was recently created as a one-stop resource to compare hospitals, medical groups, and long term care facilities. is the result of a partnership between the California Healthcare Foundation (CHCF) a non-profit philanthropy, and Consumer Reports and their commitment to ensure all Californians have access to better healthcare.

    Free and easy-to-use, the website features rating information on California hospitals, medical groups, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities, and reviews a range of measures—such as patient experience, nursing home staffing levels, and hospital quality (including ER wait times). In addition, provides tips and checklists about how to choose a health care provider, questions to ask, how to pay for care, and what to do if something goes wrong.

    Because is not commercial, users can be assured:

    • The site is always be free and offer fully open access
    • The information is objective and unbiased
    • Users are not required to register or provide any contact information
    • Users will not be hounded by aggressive emails and phone calls
    • Users won’t see advertising or promotion of one provider over others

    Visit to see the ratings and find out more. If you’d like to help spread the word on this new resource, you can host a widget on your website.

    The California Healthcare Foundation is a non-profit philanthropy working to fulfill the promise of better health care for all Californians.

  • 08Jan

    People’s cost of living adjustments (COLAs) have arrived but you may have missed it…as it’s once again pretty small. This year’s 1.5% increase amounts to an average of an extra $19/month. This is the 4th year in the last 5 of little to no increase.

    Some Washington lobbyists believe that this small increase is still too generous and are advocating to change the current COLA formula to tie to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Yet, this would result in an immediate benefit cut for millions of people. Many advocates are urging Congress to instead adopt a fairer COLA formula called the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). This formula would take elders’ higher health care costs into account when calculating the annual Social Security COLA.

    For more info, see the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare’s article: The CPI-E: A Better Option for Calculating Social Security COLAs.

  • 03Dec

    Have you heard of #GivingTuesday? It’s a great new initiative that proves the holidays can be about both giving and giving back. Happening today, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, #GivingTuesday creates a special call to action and a national day of giving to charitable organizations around the annual shopping and spending season to inspire giving every day.

    California Health Advocates is a #GivingTuesday partner, and we invite you to make a tax-deductible donation to CHA.

    California Health Advocates believes all people benefit from quality health care. Everyday we empower beneficiaries to make informed choices about their health care and policymakers to create a strong health care system that works because healthy people create a vibrant and giving world.

    Your gifts will help us continue our dedicated, quality services to California beneficiaries and policy makers and make this a more beautiful world.

    Read our testimonials to see what other have to say about us.

    Thank you!


  • 11Sep

    Open enrollment in Covered California begins soon – Oct 1 to be exact. While people with Medicare do NOT need to purchase anything through the health care exchange, as they are considered covered, many other Californians will have the opportunity to buy affordable health care. Over 2.7 million non-Medicare eligible Californians will be able to sign up for help with purchasing their health coverage. Also, in January 2014, an additional 1.4 million low-income adults will be newly eligible for Medi-Cal.

    If you have clients who are not yet eligible for Medicare and are asking about the open enrollment this fall and help in choosing their coverage, you may be interested in joining one of the events below, A New Era of Coverage: Maximizing Participation in the ACA. The events will provide updates on:

    • The state’s outreach and enrollment efforts
    • How local organizations are reaching and educating communities of color about their coverage opportunities
    • Best practices for enrolling special populations, such as immigrants and Limited English Proficient communities

    The California Pan Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) and other local organizations engaged in outreach and enrollment efforts are putting on these events in 4 cities across the state.

    See their registration page for more info. Below are a list of the dates and locations of the events.

    Fresno – October 3, 2013
    10:00 am to 2:00 pm
    United Way of Fresno County
    4949 E. Kings Canyon Road
    Co-hosts: ACT for Women and Girls, Asian and Pacific Islanders California Action Network, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño, Centro La Familia, Fresno County Democratic Party Central Committee, Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries, Fresno Metro Ministry, Vision y Compromiso

    Oakland – October 8, 2013
    10:00 am to 2:00 pm
    The California Endowment
    1111 Broadway, 7th Floor
    Co-hosts: ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, Asian and Pacific Islanders California Action Network, Asian Health Services, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Korean Community Center of the East Bay, Monument Crisis Center, Street Level Health Project, Vision y Compromiso, UC Berkeley Center for Public Health Practice, Young Invincibles

    Los Angeles – October 15, 2013
    10:00 am to 2:00 pm
    The California Endowment
    1000 North Alameda Street
    Co-hosts: Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, Asian and Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance, Asian and Pacific Islanders California Action Network, Black Women for Wellness, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Community Health Councils, Korean Resource Center, Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, Vision y Compromiso, Young Invincibles

    San Diego – October 16, 2013
    10:00 am to 2:00 pm
    Sherman Heights Community Center
    2258 Island Avenue
    Co-hosts: Asian and Pacific Islanders California Action Network, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Council of Community Clinics, Foundation for Change, Mid-City CAN, San Diego Black Health Associates, San Ysidro Health Center, Vision y Compromiso

  • 02May

    The Institute for Healthcare Improvement offered a free webinar looking at an innovative approach to keep elders in the community, prevent isolation and unnecessary hospitalizations and make the community a safe, fun and compassionate environment to age-in-place. The webinar highlights a network of 6 organizations in Ontario, Canada that have created a web of resources called Home for Life. It’s a volunteer-driven program focused on services for its over 65 population with the goal of creating one of the healthiest communities in Canada. It uses a 211 system to initiate and engage services, and a “back to the village” vision that includes employing a buddy system and training elders on computers and new technologies. Sharon King, one of Home for Life’s creators, believes Home for Life should be studied, measured, and monitored for its effectiveness. She’s hopeful they’re on to something in Canada that can be adapted elsewhere.

    Check out the webinar and maybe their program will provide a model of success for Americans as we create healthy, community-centered solutions for caring for our aging population and enabling elders to stay in their communities and age-in-place.

  • 11Jun

    Poisoning from medications happens all to frequently, and people 65 and older are especially at risk. In fact, each year there are nearly 100,000 adverse drug-related emergency hospitalizations in the U.S. for adults 65 or older. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has a Take Your Medications Safely program designed prevent these emergencies by training older adults and their caregivers about medication safety and the Poison Help’s toll-free helpline (1-800-222-1222) and extensive free services. Poison Help’s helpline also

    Below is an excerpt of some good prevention tips from Poison Help. These tips, along with other info can be downloaded from their 7-page PDF booklet, Safe Medicine Use and Poison Prevention Tips.

    In addition, the National Coalition on Aging (NCOA) is hosting a train-the-trainer webinar on this information on Monday, June 18th at 3pm EDT.


    For using medicine safely, it is important to know as much as possible about your medicines to prevent poisonings.

    Know Your Medicines

    • Know the names, reason for use, and possible side effects.
    • Review all your medicines with your doctor or pharmacist. Do this at least once a year, or when you start using a new medicine.
    • Know how and when to use your medicine, how much to use, and for how long. Never use more medicine than prescribed. Using more does not mean you will get better faster. Also, using too much medicine can poison you.

    Keep a Current Medicine List

    • Bring a list of all the medicines you are using to your doctor’s appointments. This includes all prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

    Keep All Medicines Locked Up and Out of Children’s Reach

    • No container can promise to be child proof.
    • Store your medicines in a safe place so that children cannot get to them. This will prevent accidental poisonings.

    Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222) If You Think:

    • A medicine was not taken as directed.
    • Too much medicine was taken by accident.

    TIPS For Using Over-the-Counter Medicine Safely

    Common over-the-counter (OTC) medicines include pain relievers, cold medicines, laxatives to cause a bowel movement, and antacids for heartburn. Many of these can cause problems when used with other medicine. To prevent problems, you should:

    • Read the Drug Facts Label
    • Pay attention to what is listed under Active Ingredients—its name, what it does, and how much is in each pill or teaspoon (5ml). These are parts of the medicine that make it work.
    • For more information about the Drug Facts label, visit
    • Compare the Active Ingredients
    • Make sure the active ingredients are not the same for two or more medicines that you are using. Too much can harm you.
    • Check With Your Pharmacist or Doctor
    • Know what OTC medicines to avoid using with your prescription medicines.

    TIPS for Caregivers

    • Keep a Current Medicine List
    • This includes all prescription medicines, OTC medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
    • Plan Ahead to Refill Prescriptions On Time
    • Get prescriptions refilled early to avoid running out of medicine. Make sure the right medicine is being used at the right time, in the right amount, and the way it is prescribed.
    • Prevent Bad Interactions Between Medicines
    • Tell health care professionals about all medicines the older adult is using. The information is important to share before a new medicine is prescribed.
    • Work with a pharmacist or doctor to make it safe for older adults to use medicine correctly.

    And remember, if you have questions at any time, you can always call Poison Help’s helpline (1-800-222-1222). They are available 24/7, and will connect you to a nurse, pharmacist, or other expert in your local helpline office. They also offer bilingual and translation services.

    For more information on Poison Help and their Taking Your Medicines Safely program, visit:

  • 16Apr

    Medication management and good communication between caregivers and providers are two crucial factors to promoting successful patient recoveries, especially during transitions to and from hospital, long-term care, and home care settings. Caregivers often provide clinicians with valuable information that may not be available from the patient; they also provide continuity for the patient and help that would not be available anywhere else. Because of this importance in drug management and communication, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the United Hospital Fund of New York’s Next Step In Care Campaign produced a series of educational podcasts: Helping Patients and Caregivers Take the Next Step in Care: Medication Management. These podcasts are featured on the CMS YouTube channel.

    These free podcasts can be used for provider staff and caregiver trainings, or just played in providers’ waiting rooms. For more information for caregivers and providers, see the Caregiver section of

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  • 24May

    The Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing on Older Americans Act (OAA) reauthorization this Thursday, May 26, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. The hearing will explore recommendations for strengthening and improving OAA programs, including testimony from Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, and Max Richtman, chair of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO). The hearing will be webcast live on May 26. See the Senate Special Committee on Aging webpage for the webcast.

    Since passed by Congress in 1965, the OAA has funded numerous essential social and nutritional services that keep seniors independent, in their homes and in their communities. Some of these services include: meals, job training, senior centers, caregiver support, benefits enrollment, transportation and more.

    See the Administration on Aging website for more details on the OAA. The National Council on Aging website also has many resources on the OAA, including a webinar on the history and promise of the OAA.

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