SCAN Club Issue 2 2018 Article Hero

SCAN Club Issue 2, 2018

Don't Let a Fall
Trip Up Your Health

Who hasn’t chuckled watching an entertainer take a comedic onscreen fall? Experiencing a stumble, trip or awkward landing in real life, though, is no laughing matter, especially for older adults.

According to the National Council on Aging*, non-fatal injuries from falling account for more hospitalizations than any other cause of injury for people age 65 and older. In fact, by the time you have reached the end of this sentence, another senior in the U.S. will be in an emergency room being treated for a fractured hip, broken wrist, head trauma or other fall-related injury.

The news isn’t all bad, though. While falling may be a common cause of injury for older adults, it is also one of the most avoidable.

“One thing that can make the greatest difference in a senior’s health and well-being is to prevent falls from happening,” says SCAN Medical Director Magda Lenartowicz, MD.

 

Take These Steps to Prevent Falling

  • Talk with your doctor. Make an appointment to have your vision and balance checked and to talk about other health issues that could lead to a fall. Bring a list of your prescription and over-the-counter drugs so your doctor can review it for side effects and interactions. If your feet hurt or it’s painful when you walk, be sure to let your doctor know.
  • Make physical activity part of your day, every day. Focus on exercises that improve balance, such as walking, water workouts and tai chi. If you have the SilverSneakers® benefit, look for classes like these near you. There might also be classes in your area that teach how to prevent falls and what to do if you do take a tumble.
  • Try for balance in your diet, too. Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet helps keep your body strong and your mind alert, making a fall less likely.
  • Get enough shut-eye. If you’re not well-rested, you’re probably less aware of hazards and less energetic, making you more prone to fall.
  • Trip-proof your home. Clear walkways in and around your house of trip hazards, such as electrical and phone cords. Remove rugs where you can; where you can’t, make sure they are secured to the floor. Use a non-slip mat in the bathtub. And don’t forget to have a plan for how you would call for help if you fell, such as wearing a personal emergency response pendant.
  • Make “fall-free” your fashion choice. Trade flip-flops, high heels and shoes with slippery soles for flat, sturdy footwear with non-skid soles. And make sure they’re the right fit—even “sensible” shoes can be dangerous if too loose or too tight.
  • If you have an assistive device, like a cane, use it! Consider it your personal fashion statement that says, “I am committed to staying independent!”

* www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/falls-prevention-facts

 

OUR HOURS HAVE CHANGED BUT WE’RE STILL HERE FOR YOU

It’s that time of year when our Member Services regular business hours change—from seven days a week to
five days a week. So, from now until next fall, Member Service Advocates are available to help every day
Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. We want to be sure you can get the answers you need when
you need them, so here are some tips you can use whenever you need help with your benefits.

  • Call later in the day or early in the evening. That’s when it tends to be less busy.
  • If you can wait a day or two, it’s best to call later in the week when the phone traffic is slower.
  • For non-urgent issues, consider sending your question in an email. Email your question to
    MemberServices@scanhealthplan.com. Supervisors check emails regularly so you can expect
    someone to either call or email you back soon.

If you’re calling outside the regular hours, you can always leave a message and your call will be returned within one business day. But you might be able to find the information you need right away by visiting the SCAN website at www.scanhealthplan.com and logging in to your SCAN online account.

CEO Message: Help Us Spread the Word

Chris Wing

You probably know that we have SCAN employees who are also SCAN members. For example, the Senior Advocates are all SCAN members who work part-time for SCAN. They’re the ones who welcome you to the plan, call you on your birthday and support many projects throughout the company.

But they’re not the only ones who both work for and get their healthcare through SCAN. We have SCAN members who work in other departments, too. And we certainly have a number of employees whose family members belong to SCAN Health Plan.

Of course, none of these people were hired simply because they belong to SCAN—or are related to a SCAN member! They met the job requirements and had the qualifications necessary. But it really opened my eyes to the idea that just like our members refer other seniors to our health plan, perhaps you can also refer potential employees to us.

We’re always looking for qualified, passionate people who can help us make a difference—who care about serving seniors. It’s a plus, too, if they can speak an additional language, especially Spanish, Korean or Chinese. If you know someone who fits the bill (maybe it’s you!), I hope you’ll tell them about SCAN. Interested applicants can go to our website to find open positions: www.scanhealthplan.com/careers.

With appreciation,

Chris Wing Signature
Chris Wing
Chief Executive Officer
SCAN Health Plan

 

PS: By the time you read this, we will have just finished a series of Straight TeleTalks about how SCAN listens to our members. A Straight TeleTalk is a large-scale conference call so SCAN did most of the talking but our message was this: We want to hear from you. You’ll find email and street addresses on the back of this newsletter. Your comments and questions will be shared with me and the appropriate teams. We hope to hear from you.

SCAN Club Issue 2 Member Services Header
ASK MEMBER SERVICES

 

I’ve been hearing about new Medicare cards.
Will I be getting one? If so, when?

According to the federal government, every beneficiary will receive a new Medicare card with a new, more secure ID number. The new card will not show your Social Security Number like on your current card, so it does a better job of protecting your identity. The government plans to mail the new cards to all beneficiaries living in California between April and June—but don’t worry if you don’t receive yours right away. Medicare CardYour SCAN ID card is still all you need to show when you require medical care. And, as with your other personal information, take care to give your SCAN ID card number or new Medicare card number only to people and companies you trust.

For more information, visit www.scanhealthplan.com/medicare.



SCAN Club Issue 2 Your Way Out Header

Finding Your Way Out When
Loneliness Creeps In

As one of SCAN’s Peer Advocates, MaryKay Kubota often talks with members who are struggling to cope with changes they never expected, like having to adjust to lives without the people, places and purposes they had known for so long. MaryKay knows all too well what they’re feeling because she has felt it, too. A few years ago, after decades as a wife, mother and career woman, MaryKay found herself alone, without a purpose and with too many empty hours in the day.

“One day you’re somebody—busy and feeling valuable, productive and needed—and the next day, you’re not,” she says. “When all that goes away, you can lose not only what you thought made you valuable but your identity, as well.”

A recent poll by SCAN suggests that, like MaryKay, many seniors deal with loneliness. Of 1,000 adults age 64 and older interviewed in the August 2017 survey, 82 percent said they know at least one person who is lonely. This is cause for concern because research also shows that loneliness and isolation can have serious effects on seniors’ emotional, mental and physical health, such as leading to depression.

Making Connections Matters

Whether it’s face-to-face or online, with other people or animals, with old friends or new ones in the making, interacting with others seems to be key to breaking through loneliness.

In the SCAN survey, almost half of the seniors said they combat loneliness by either participating in activities in their communities or volunteering. Even more of them said they stay in touch with their loved ones by email and on social media, such as Facebook and Instagram.

“The good news is that seniors are seeking out ways to remain engaged with others,” says Romilla Batra, MD, SCAN’s chief medical officer.

SCAN member Judy Barrie’s “other” is a furry companion named Coconut. After her children grew up and moved out on their own, “having someone who needs me, keeps me company and gives so much unconditional love has been really helpful,” she says.

For MaryKay Kubota, starting work as a SCAN Peer Advocate gave her a purpose she had been missing. “I realize now that I need to be connected and needed,” she says. “Now I am able to stay connected with others, use the skills that I have learned over all these years and maybe make someone else’s day brighter, too.”

If you’re looking for ways to feel productive and connected, see some suggestions on the next page. And if, like MaryKay and Judy, you have found your way out of loneliness, we’d love to know how you did it. Please write or email the SCAN Club editor at the contact information on the back of this newsletter.

If you or someone you know is struggling with loneliness—

Talk about it. There are people who want to help, including your doctor. So, make an appointment and share how you’re feeling. Doctors are trained to recognize symptoms of depression that you might not see—and can help you find solutions.

“The first step is to get the help you need to start feeling more like yourself again,” MaryKay Kubota says. “Once that happens, you’ll start to see other opportunities that will help you feel better.”

Put a new lens on your life. Instead of dwelling on how your life used to be, think about the person you want to be and what you want this next stage of your life to look like. Would you like to be able to speak another language? Look for a class online or at the local adult school. If you’re searching for a new purpose, volunteering is a good start. Check for volunteer opportunities at local churches, schools, pet shelters, hospitals, community centers or anywhere you have an interest. SCAN’s Volunteer Action for Aging has a variety of volunteer opportunities in Southern California (call 1-562-637-7169 or visit https://scan.samaritan.com).

Don’t give up. If you try something for the first time and it’s not your cup of tea, don’t let it stop you from trying something else. The important thing is to keep trying—after all, the more you do, the more likely you are to find something you enjoy.

So the next time someone calls and asks you to do something, take them up on it. And if you’re the person calling a friend who is lonely, keep calling.

 

SCAN Club Issue 2 Loneliness Quote

Coming in May: Your 2018
Health Check Record

If you’re a longtime SCAN member, you know about the Health Check Record. We mail it every year and personalize it just for you. (If you’re a new member, the box at right is for you.) We also make improvements, based on what members tell us they’d like to see. This year, you’ll also find an online version of the Health Check Record at www.scanhealthplan.com/hcr.

SCAN Club Issue 2 Health Check Record

This personalized guide to your good health will include recommendations and tips that have been customized based on your age, gender, health conditions and doctor. There’s space to keep track of the medications you take, tests you have done and much more. Look for it in the mail in May and then use it as a handy reference to help you stay on top of your care throughout the year.



About That Colon Cancer Screening You’ve Been Putting Off: Now’s the Time!

If you haven’t already been screened for colon cancer, now is the time to get it done. (Not sure if you’re due? Check page 3 of your Health Check Record.) SCAN has joined with more than 1,500 other organizations in a nationwide movement to increase screening rates this year to 80 percent. SCAN Club Issue 2 About Colon Cancer Screening Get screened now and you will be helping us reach that goal and be protecting yourself from this dangerous, but treatable, cancer.

The American Cancer Society recommends colon cancer screening begin at age 50 for people at average risk. Getting screened is considered the best way not only to detect cancer early but to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Talk with your doctor about which test you should have done and to schedule your screening.

 

HAVE YOU SEEN ALL THAT’S ONLINE NOW?

Should I see a specialist thumbnail

There’s so much information for members on SCAN’s website—and not just your plan materials, either. Did you know we have videos, frequently asked questions (FAQs) and more? Here’s just some of what you’ll find:

Find all this and more at www.scanhealthplan.com/members/register.

MedTrans Gets You There and Home Again

SCAN Club Issue 2 MedTrans Gets YouSCAN members with the transportation benefit can get rides to and from their doctors’ offices, the pharmacy and other medical appointments by calling SCAN’s contracted ride provider, MedTrans, at 1-844-714-2218.

If you’ve got questions about how to use your transportation benefit, give MedTrans or SCAN Member Services a call. But before you do, read on: The answers to some of these commonly asked questions could save you a phone call.

Q.

I made a mistake when I scheduled my ride and gave the address for one of my other doctors, not the one I need a ride to. Can I just tell the driver to take me to a different place when I get picked up?

 

A.

Your safety is our top priority so drivers can take you only to the location on their trip sheet.

Double-check everything when you make your reservation. (Is it the right doctor? Do you have the street number right? Is it for a.m. or p.m.?) If you realize you made a mistake with your reservation, call back MedTrans as soon as possible. Otherwise, the driver is required to leave you at the scheduled location and you will need to call for a new ride.

 

Q.

I use a wheelchair. Can I still get a ride?

A.

Yes! Just be sure to call MedTrans to schedule your ride three to four days before you need it, and let them know you will need a ride that can take a wheelchair. That way, they can be sure to send the right kind of vehicle for you. If you are traveling without a wheelchair, it’s still good practice to reserve your ride three to four days in advance.

 

Q. The driver called me to say my ride has been cancelled. What should I do?
A.

The driver should never call you directly to cancel a ride. Call MedTrans at 1-844-714-2218
right away.

 

Q. The driver gave me his phone number and asked me to call him when I was done—is this right?
A.

No, you should never call a driver directly or have the driver call your personal phone number.
Always contact MedTrans for scheduling or updates on your rides.

 

Q. Where should I wait for my ride to pick me up?
A.

In most cases, the driver will pick you up at the curb in front of your home or other scheduled location.

If you need to have the driver meet you at the door, some conditions apply for this “door-to-door” service, so ask the representative when making your reservation.

 

Q. My ride is 15 minutes late. What should I do?
A.

Call the Where’s My Ride? line at 1-844-864-3359.

Let them know your driver is late so that they can give you an update or schedule another ride
for you. Try to make the call from where you can still see your pick-up spot—you wouldn’t want
the driver to show up and leave because you’re not there.

 

Q. What if I don’t know how long my appointment will last?
A.

That’s OK, just let MedTrans know when scheduling your ride that you want a “Will-Call” ride for
the trip back home, but know that you might have to wait longer for a ride. Then, call MedTrans back when you are ready to be picked up and they will send a driver to you as soon as possible.

 

Q. The last time I used a “Will-Call” ride home, I waited almost an hour. What if I can’t wait that long?
A. In order to schedule an appropriate ride, it may take up to an hour for a driver to pick you up. If you have to get home sooner, the dispatcher may offer to send you a Lyft ride. Lyft drivers have to pass a background screening and a vehicle inspection, but they use their personal cars and may not be able to accommodate wheelchairs or have experience dealing with the needs of seniors.