Jun 25, 2012

Inspired by SHIP Conference

Darren Hotton
Utah SHIP Director

I attended the 18th Annual State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) Directors’ Conference earlier this month, down in Atlanta, Georgia. It was great visiting again with my fellow SHIP directors, counselors, community partners, and CMS staff. I always look forward to learning new and innovative ways to grow my local SHIP program, and this year’s program didn’t disappoint. If you missed it, check out the presentation materials available online.

There were plenty of terrific breakout sessions, including ones on best practices in volunteer recruitment, using social media to grow your SHIP, and casework help with deaf and hard of hearing communities and clients with dementia. I can only speak for the sessions I attended, but I’m confident all the breakout sessions pushed the SHIP network to look at other avenues to help improve and enhance their programs.

The plenary sessions were also outstanding, giving us all plenty of food for thought. For example, Dr. Adrienne Mims gave a thought provoking talk on the importance of understanding older Americans’ health. It’s amazing how people with Medicare forget that more prescriptions aren’t always a good thing. Dr. Mims’ presentation reminded the SHIPs that we need to speak with people with Medicare about adverse drug effects. In another session, Kathy Greenlee explained how changes to the Administration on Aging fit with the new federal agency where she serves as administrator, the Administration for Community Living.

For me, one of the highlights each year is the SHIP recognitions. What a wonderful feeling it is for a local SHIP network to get praise from fellow SHIPs. There’s no greater reward than having peers recognize all our hard work over the past year.

I want to thank CMS and the conference planning committee for another great conference. I look forward to improving my program this year with the information I got.