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Your Guide to the New Perscription Drug Benefit
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The interactive town meeting, Understanding Medicare Rx: Your Guide to the New Prescription Drug Benefit, is designed to help viewers understand Medicare’s prescription drug coverage which took effect on Jan. 1, 2006.
Understanding Medicare Rx: Your Guide to the New Prescription Drug Benefit is a co-production of CPTV and the State of Connecticut Department of Social Services, a content partner in CPTV's Connecting Our Communities Initiative.
In Understanding Medicare Rx: Your Guide to the New Prescription Drug Benefit, a panel of experts from the Department of Social Services, Medicare and the healthcare field explain how Medicare Rx works and how the new Medicare Rx coverage can help seniors and people with disabilities receiving Medicare in Connecticut. Experts answer viewer questions, such as who will qualifies for Medicare Rx, what drugs are covered and what the enrollment process entails.
Understanding Medicare Rx is hosted by Anita Ford Saunders, a seasoned broadcaster. The panel of experts includes Michael Starkowski, the deputy commissioner of the Department of Social Services for the State of Connecticut; Dr. Charlotte S. Yeh, administrator for Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services; Richard Carbray, Jr., registered pharmacist; and a physician. The studio audience will consist of elderly healthcare providers, caretakers, seniors and family members whose questions are answered by the experts during the broadcast.
“As CPTV inaugurates the Connecting Our Communities initiative, we are delighted to premiere Understanding Medicare Rx -- co-produced with the Department of Social Services with the input of agencies such as CHOICES,” said Jerry Franklin, president and chief executive officer of Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Inc., the parent company of CPTV and WNPR. “The new Medicare prescription benefit program touches the lives of so many people in Connecticut. By offering this timely broadcast in a town meeting format that brings Medicare experts right into people's living rooms, we will provide citizens with valuable information and helpful answers to an issue of great concern.”
“My agency and CPTV share a common mission to further a straightforward understanding of the new Medicare Rx prescription drug coverage in our communities. Our co-produced Town Meeting with CPTV promises to be a unique learning experience for anyone interested in the new drug coverage and how it can help Medicare beneficiaries in Connecticut,” said State Social Services Commissioner Patricia A. Wilson-Coker. “Our live Town Meeting will present timely and accurate information, in plain language, about the new drug coverage -- this is by far the best type of help we can provide to empower our seniors, people with disabilities and those who care for them in the time we have before the new coverage goes into effect.”
The Connecticut Department of Social Services is the state’s omnibus, $4 billion health and human services agency, publicly accountable for the administration of over 90 social service programs serving hundreds of thousands of families and children, persons with disabilities, adults and elders in Connecticut.
The roots of Connecting Our Communities go back to the late 1990s when Connecticut Public Broadcasting Inc.’s (CPBI) television broadcast station, CPTV, began planning for the government mandated conversion of its broadcast signal to digital transmission. The required transition provided CPBI with a unique opportunity to partner with community organizations to develop new sources of program content.
“We realized the new digital technology would present us with a wonderful opportunity to reach a broader spectrum of people in Connecticut and beyond. In Phase One, Mapping the Assets, we studied how CPTV could provide community institutions with the opportunity to enhance their services and create new ones. Phase Two, called Connecting the Assets, explored the practicality of a partnership model with other organizations. Two pilot projects that grew out of Connecting the Assets were Health Care for Kids: Asthma and Leadership Skills for Young Women,” Franklin said.
“Based on the success of those pilot projects, CPTV has moved on to Phase Three: Connecting Our Communities," added Franklin. “We're excited about Understanding Medicare Rx and the other projects in our programming pipeline that will add value to people's lives through the power of public broadcasting and new media.”
CPTV is a locally and nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including UConn Women's Basketball games, Alan Alda in Scientific American Frontiers, Barney & Friends, Teens Behind the Wheel, Wall of Fire and In Our Prime. CPTV is committed to bringing the best in educational and entertaining programming and services to Connecticut and the nation.
Understanding Medicare Rx: Your Guide to the New Prescription Drug Benefit
A co-production of: CPTV and the Connecticut Department of Social Services
Produced by: Kim Millbrandt
Executive Producer: Jay Whitsett, vice president of programming for CPTV
Host: Anita Ford Saunders 
Help with understanding Medicare Rx is available for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers from health insurance counselors toll free at CHOICES, 1-800-994-9422. CHOICES, a program of the State of Connecticut's Aging Services Division, is an unbiased, objective source of information on Medicare.