Avenues for Advocacy: September 2018

The September 2018 issue of the newly revised Lower Savannah Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman newsletter is now available. Avenues for Advocacy is a newsletter to communicate news and information to advocates for residents in long-term care.

You can check out the newsletter here. This issue features:

  • Resident’s Rights month

  • Medicare open enrollment information

  • and more!

New runs for BFE

The Best Friend Express (BFE) is adding two new runs to the existing RED Route beginning September 4, 2018, and will celebrate by offering free fares to all passengers on all of the BFE routes Sept 4th thru Sept. 14th (Mon-Fri).

The Best Friend Express (BFE) is a public transportation system serving much of Aiken County. The BFE offers 3 routes including the BLUE Route operating in the North Augusta area; the GREEN Route operating in Aiken and traveling out to Graniteville and Langley; and the RED Route which travels from the Northside of Aiken down through the Whiskey Rd corridor. Adding 12:30 & 4:30 pm runs will offer a total of 5 opportunities for passengers to ride the RED Route. Both the BLUE and the GREEN Routes already offer 5 runs each Mon-Fri.

“It is wonderful to now offer parity between all the Routes. We think this will allow more riders not only a chance to shop, but also offer retail and hospitality employees more flexibility with their work schedule,” says Rhonda Mitchell, Transit Manager with the Lower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG), the federal grantee for the transit system.

Fares are $2.00 per trip, with free transfers among the routes for a single trip. Fares are less for students, seniors, or persons with disabilities. Call LSCOG transportation 803-508-7033 for questions or to be mailed a schedule. Further transit details available at www.bestfriendexpress.com.

CMS issuing new Medicare Cards

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has starting mailing out new Medicare cards to people with Medicare. Your new Medicare card will include a new number unique to you, instead of your current Social Security-based number. This will help to protect you against fraud. Starting this month, people who are enrolling in Medicare for the first time will be among the first in the country to get the new cards. South Carolinians will start receiving their new Medicare cards in June 2018. 

Some Important things to remember:

  1. Starting in April 2018, people who are enrolling in Medicare for the first time will be among the first in the country to receive the new cards.
  2. Your new card will automatically come to you. You don't need to do anything as long as your address is up to date. If you need to update your address, visit your ssa.gov or call 1-800-772-1213.
  3. Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away.

Watch out for scams

Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask you to give us personal or private information to get your new Medicare Number and card. Scam artists may try to get personal information (like your current Medicare Number) by contacting you about your new card. If someone asks you for your information, for money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don't share your personal information, hang up and call us at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Summer Jumpstart Program is a success

The Summer Jumpstart Program is designed to target rising high school seniors with little to no work experience, and give them a job over the summer. This year, twenty-seven (27) rising seniors were placed in work experiences with the school districts of Aiken, Denmark, Williston and Calhoun counties. The school districts acted as the work site, and students worked in various departments, such as administration, material center, maintenance, technology and communications.

Jamie Stephens, Director of Guidance for Calhoun County, stated “The Summer Program assisted several of our students this summer. I was so grateful that our students were given the opportunity to participate. We have 100% of our student body on free lunch. This program allowed our students to get work experience as well as earn finances to assist with their daily living need. We hope that the program continues because the experiences gained throughout this work program is both rewarding and invaluable.”

Deborah Gladden, a parent of a participant, stated “The program was outstanding from start to finish. This was the best thing for my son Dominic Gladden, who worked in the maintenance department. I watched him grow and mature over the summer. He also gained work experience and work ethics while participating in the program. I am very pleased with this program.”

Alana Hick, participant with Bamberg School District 2, stated “With this past work experience, I’ve learned the way of office work. I learned all of the expectations as well as rules to working as an office secretary. I learned good work ethics, professionalism and customer service skills. I also learned what to expect in the real world once I start to venture out on my own.”

“Teaming up with our school districts to provide imperative hands-on work experiences is the key to developing young adult’s employable skill sets which are needed in the workforce,” said Megan Helmig, Youth Coordinator for Lower Savannah.

Lower Savannah Workforce Development Area (LSWDA) is pleased with this extended effort and looks forward to providing more hands-on work experiences with our young adults within our communities. For more information about LSWDA’s opportunities, please visit lswia.org.