SMP Forms Fruitful Community Outreach Partnership with Local Pharmacy

SMP Forms Fruitful Community Outreach Partnership with Local Pharmacy

As the administration of flu shots moves out of the doctors’ offices and into local pharmacies, Rite Aid sees this potential influx of elder customers as a good opportunity for community outreach and collaboration. Rite Aid has appointed a Wellness Ambassador at each pharmacy to head up such activities. Chico Rite Aid’s Wellness Ambassador recently called the local Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) to propose having an information table for HICAP and the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) on a regular basis. paula-outreach-event-s

Both HICAP Program Manager Tatiana Fassieux and our Senior Medicare Patrol Regional Liaison Paula Holden were thrilled with the proposition, and jumped on the idea. Paula is taking the lead, getting an SMP/HICAP presence established and will then turn over this outreach opportunity to HICAP and SMP volunteers to set up in their own community Rite Aids.

Paula had her first community outreach event last week and it is already a great success! The pharmacy made 2 announcements over their PA system inviting Rite Aid customers to come by the pharmacy to meet SMP/HICAP and get help with their Medicare questions. Over 50 people came by the table, and Paula had 14 one-on-one conversations with folks who were learning of SMP and HICAP for the first time. All of them took information and some had their Medicare questions answered on the spot. The store manager even came by to express her appreciation and enthusiasm for the new partnership. Paula has arranged to be there once a week from 1-5 pm for the rest of February and will then arrange for volunteers to go once a month.

Also, even when an SMP/HICAP volunteer or staff member is not there, Rite Aid has an info table with our materials available 24/7. paula-outreach-event2-s They also have our community outreach day and times posted on their entrance sandwich board sign for people to notice as they walk in.

“I am thrilled with our new budding partnership,” said Paula, “and I see this as being a successful model that can be replicated statewide.”

If you are interested in collaborating with your local pharmacy, we suggest contacting them and seeing if they have a Wellness Ambassador. If so, you can propose setting up a similar partnership. You can reference this article as an example. If you have questions, contact Paula at pholden@cahealthadvocates.org.

See Medicare Fraud for more information.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.