Press Release             

Contact: Paul Precht
Director of Policy and Communications

Akiko Takano
Deputy Director of Communications

February 18, 2010

Statement by Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker on New Office of External Affairs and Beneficiary Services at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

New York, NY—The consolidation of CMS�s Office of External Affairs and Office of Beneficiary Services into a single office reporting directly to the CMS Administrator is good news for people with Medicare. The new office will be accountable for all of CMS�s efforts to communicate with consumers�through 1-800-Medicare, through state health insurance assistance programs and community-based organizations, and through its web site and print publications.

The creation of a single office responsible for educating and counseling people with Medicare was a key recommendation in the Medicare Rights Center�s March 2009 report on this subject. We look forward to working with the Obama administration on the report�s other key recommendations�standardizing the health and drug plan choices facing consumers, increasing funding and support for SHIPs, Area Agencies on Aging and other community-based organizations serving people with Medicare, and improving web-based communications with consumers.

A full copy of the March 2009 report, Proposal to Restructure and Improve Counseling and Education for Medicare Consumers, is available here.

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Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.


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