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Randy Schorfheide
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SJH Offers FREE Medicare Counseling for Local Seniors

St. Joseph’s Hospital (SJH) in Highland offers local Medicare-eligible seniors (and their caregivers) the opportunity to take advantage of a FREE Medicare counseling service that can save time, money, and help local seniors make educated decisions about their Medicare insurance coverage.

Now available on the 3rd Thursday each month – beginning September 18th - from 9a.m. – 3p.m. on the new SJH campus, the SJH-sponsored Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) counselor is available for Medicare consultation; the average counseling session lasts about one hour. Appointments can be scheduled by calling (618) 651-2553.

“SJH is providing this service to local seniors in an effort to help them with any questions, issues or concerns related to their Medicare enrollment and benefits,” states Peggy Sebastian, President and CEO, SJH. “This will be the 3rd consecutive year SJH offers SHIP consultation to area seniors and we’re happy to continue the service.”

The SJH-sponsored SHIP counselor is Charlotte Isaak - whose previous work experience includes a 14-year stint as Service Coordinator at Faith Countryside Homes Atrium Apartments. Ms. Isaak also currently volunteers at the Highland Area Christian Service Ministry providing counseling services to local seniors. In addition, Charlotte is a licensed social worker.

SJH will once again begin offering this service at a time when seniors will be entering an open enrollment period for Medicare D that takes place October 15th – December 7th.  

The Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) is a FREE statewide health insurance counseling service designed to educate Illinois residents about:

  • Medicare
  • Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • Medicare Advantage Plans
    • HMOs
    • PPOs
    • PFFS
  • Prescription Drug Coverage through Medicare and other sources
  • Extra Help from Social Security for prescription drug costs
  • Illinois Cares Rx prescription drug assistance program
  • Long-term Care Insurance
  • Medicare Claims and Appeals
  • Medicare Beneficiary Rights and Guarantees

Counseling of the individual client focuses on specific information or assistance provided in one-on-one confidential sessions with certified counselors. Individual counseling sessions provide an effective way to objectively approach specific problems with claims and provide insurance policy analyses.

SHIP was initiated in the fall of 1988 within the Illinois Department of Insurance and was transferred to the Illinois Department on Aging in April 2013. SHIP currently has 186 offices throughout the state staffed by a total of over 600 volunteer counselors. All offices are volunteer-based and supported by local sponsoring organizations that offer services to Medicare beneficiaries. SHIP also provides a toll-free line for the Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers.

More information on the Senior Health Insurance Program can be obtained by calling 1-800-252-8966, or by visiting the SHIP web site at www.illinois.gov/aging/ship/Pages/aboutship.aspx.

SJH’s decision to offer the SHIP counselor program was an identified need discovered through the hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA).

The SJH Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is an outcome of the Affordable Care Act, which requires tax-exempt, non-profit hospitals to complete a CHNA every three (3) years and to implement strategies to address the needs identified in the report.

The SJH assessment was completed with information obtained through 200 completed telephone surveys and a written stakeholder survey completed by key informants and community leaders representing the various needs and interests within the SJH service area. The assessment also draws from Madison County Health Department research, the Healthy People 2020 survey affiliated with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – as well as additional assessment research conducted by local agencies/organizations.

“Not only is conducting a CHNA consistent with federal law and Internal revenue Service (IRS) policy,” says Sebastian, “but more importantly, SJH, and Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS), view conducting a CHNA as part of our Mission Integration Accountability policy aligned with our Franciscan heritage of addressing the needs of local communities and involving them in the process.”

To view the SJH Community Health Needs Assessment in its entirety, visit www.stjosephshighland.org.

About St. Joseph’s Hospital

St. Joseph's Hospital, which on August 22, 2013 opened a new $63 million state-of-the-art health care campus in Highland, is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. St. Joseph’s Hospital provides proven-effective care to more than 33,500 residents in portions of Madison, Clinton and Bond counties. Serving Highland and surrounding communities for more than 135 years, St. Joseph's Hospital combines state-of-the-art technologies with highly trained and experienced staff to meet the changing health care needs of local residents. St. Joseph's Hospital reveals and embodies Christ's healing love to its patients through a wide array of inpatient and outpatient services including surgery, specialty clinics, rehab, digital imaging, laboratory, wound care, cancer care, sleep center, a primary care walk-in clinic, and community health and education outreach programs. For more information, visit www.stjosephshighland.org.

About Hospital Sisters Health System

Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) is a Roman Catholic health care mission founded to continue the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Sponsored by the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care framed in traditional values taught by St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi.  It is dedicated to serving all people, including the poor and the needy, at each of its 13 Local Systems and physician practices in Illinois (Belleville, Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Highland, Litchfield, Springfield and Streator) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay).  For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org.

St. Joseph's Hospital Releases Community Health Needs Assessment Repor - 9-month Project was completed September 2014-May 2015...

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