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Where to get help:
Volunteers help
Contra Costa County

Staying independent

placeholder February 18, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 4   •   Oakland, CA
Where to get help:
Volunteers help Contra Costa County seniors

The Volunteer Care Coordination Initiative pilot program was launched last July with volunteers at three locations in Contra Costa County. Volunteers were posted at San Ramon, Pittsburg (Ambrose) Center and North Richmond Neighborhood House, with limited outreach also at the Walnut Creek Senior Center. Volunteers assist on either a scheduled basis or a drop-in basis with seniors and family members who are seeking information and direction to understand the available resources, services and benefits.

As of the end of 2012, more than 250 appointments and contacts have occurred, showing the communities' need for more access to information and assistance and coordination of services. The county's Aging and Adult Services division continues to recruit volunteers interested in serving others, specifically individuals with social work or public service backgrounds. Seniors and family members interested in this service should contact their senior center for more information and to schedule an appointment.

Among the services available to elders in Contra Costa County is the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP), which provides free and objective counseling and advocacy services to the county's Medicare beneficiaries and their families who need assistance with Medicare enrollment and with issues involving Medicare and associated insurance programs, including prescription drug coverage. HICAP helps beneficiaries understand Medicare, explains the resources and options available to them, and assists them with provider billings and with filing claims and appeals.

HICAP volunteers and staff members provide one-on-one confidential counseling for Medicare recipients in senior and community centers. Home visits can be arranged for the homebound. Translation services may also be arranged.

HICAP is sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, California Department of Aging and Contra Costa County Area Agency on Aging. Contact HICAP, toll-free, at 800-510-2020, and locally at 925-229-8434, or 925-602-4198 (TDD) for the hearing impaired.

Community education, including Welcome to Medicare classes, are available. These classes provide information about how other health insurance, including employer plans, retirement plans, VA, Tricare for Life and COBRA, coordinates with Medicare.

Additional information is available at www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=2533. Guides to resources in the county are divided by area — West, East and Central. For information on services, dial 925-229-8434.

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