Medicare Bus visits Poarch
By By Adrienne McKenzie
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians hosted several special guests Monday afternoon who were impressed with the health care and facilities PCI has to offer.
The Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services visited with Poarch Tribal Council members along with healthcare administrators. The Medicare Mobile Office bus came along for the ride.
Michelle Ruslavage, the Nashville Area Health Prevention Coordinator for the Indian Health Service, spoke to the group about having healthier Native American communities and commended PCI for having an excellent diabetes program for senior citizens.
"The diabetes program is one of Poarch's greatest programs," she said. "We are trying to bring attention to heart disease and diabetes in Indian country. We are also trying to teach the youth health choices and life choices."
The Medicare Mobile Office bus will visit each of the lower 48 states and Stacey Ecoffey with the Department of Health and Human Services said the tour is usually a success.
"We work closely with state and local officials in a broad range of issues," she said. "We try to promote healthier living with Tribal members. We're very excited because most tours in Indian countries have been a success. We're very pleased to be here to be able to recognize you (PCI) and all the work that you do."
Amanda Robinson, deputy regional administrator for Centers for Medicare &Medicaid Services, said bringing the Medicare Mobile Office bus to Poarch is a big step in information services.
"We're honored that we could bring the bus to Poarch Creek," Robinson said. "It's basically a rolling billboard for us. We are trying to get the message across about what Medicare has to offer."
Robinson said she felt the meeting went well at PCI.
"I thought it was great," she said. "We were really excited that Tribal Chairman Buford Rolin let us bring the bus in to Poarch Creek. It was a great reception and we got to see what Poarch Creek is doing in wellness. We are very grateful to have them as a partner in Alabama and they do a great job."
Deloris White with the Area Agency on Aging out of Mobile also felt the meeting was a success and was informative.
"I think it went wonderfully," she said. "The participation was better than I expected. The attendance was really great. The spokespeople showed up with a lot of good information. Different attendees said that the information was something they could use and they could share with others and they want us to come back."
White also said personnel from the different organizations toured PCI's facilities and were pleased with what they saw.
"They toured the health clinics yesterday and they were very impressed with that and their preventive programs," she said.
PCI health administrator Candace Fayard and Rolin also accepted a certificate acknowledging what has been done at PCI in diabetes control and health from Robinson during the program.
PCI Tribal Council members in attendance included, Helen Hallman, Eddie Tullis, Keith Martin, David Gehman and Robbie McGhee. Atmore council members included, John Garrard, Jim Staff and Webb Nall.
For more information about Medicare, visit www.mymedicare.gov.