Questions Frequently Asked About the Center For Medicare Advocacy
- Are you Medicare?
No, we are not Medicare and we are not part of Medicare or the government. We are a national, non-profit law organization. We work to advance access to Medicare and quality health care through all sorts of advocacy on behalf of older and disabled people.
- Are you a law firm?
Yes – but in a unique way. The Center is a non-profit, public interest law firm, staffed with attorneys, advocates, nurses, and technical experts. We represent individuals, provide legal analysis and education, and advocate at the national level and in federal court to ensure fair access to Medicare and quality health care for older and disabled people.
- Can anyone contact the Center for help – and you will take their case?
Anyone can contact the Center to obtain information and assistance with our many self-help packets, available for free on our extensive website, but the Center is only funded to provide direct legal assistance for people from Connecticut. We have substantive priorities and sometimes represent people outside CT with those concerns – including, for example, obtaining Medicare to maintain or slow decline, not just to improve an individual’s condition, eliminating hospital observation status, and advancing Medicare coverage for oral health care, effective off-label medications, and prostheses.
- What are the major issues you’re working on?
In addition to our over-arching goal of preserving a structurally sound Medicare program, we have substantive priorities including obtaining Medicare to maintain or slow decline, not just to improve an individual’s condition, eliminating hospital observation status, preserving a comprehensive Medicare program, and advancing Medicare coverage for oral health care, effective off-label medications, and Medicare coverage of prostheses and durable medical equipment.
- Who works for Center for Medicare Advocacy?
The Center is staffed by attorneys, advocates, nurses, and technical experts.
- How is the Center for Medicare Advocacy funded?
The Center is funded through competitively bid contracts and grants, writing, consulting, honoraria, attorneys’ fees, and donations. We are always in need of funding and work creatively to enhance and diversify our funding base.
- What are some of the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s biggest achievements?
The Jimmo v. Sebelius settlement is our most recent victory. Jimmo requires that Medicare rules and decision-makers provide coverage for skilled nursing and therapy needed to maintain a person’s condition, rather than apply an illegal standard requiring a beneficiary to improve in order to receive coverage for their care.
- What are you doing to advance national legislation?
We are often asked to testify in Congress and weigh in on legislation. Examples include such topics as Medicare appeals, hospital observation status, Medicare Advantage participant rights, access to durable medical equipment and prostheses.
- Who founded the Center for Medicare Advocacy?
Our Executive Director, Judith Stein, founded the Center in 1986. Back then it was just her and a Total Phone. Now the Center is a nationally known force for the protection of Medicare and Medicare beneficiaries.
- Who are some of the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s major partners?
The Center works with many other organizations, including Justice in Aging, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, Medicare Rights Center, Vermont Legal Aid, AARP, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, CT Health Foundation and others.
- Do you support political candidates? Do you lobby?
The Center is non-partisan. We do not endorse candidates. We are not lobbyists. We support policies that open access to quality health and therapeutic care for older and disabled people and respond to requests from legislators and other policy-makers.
- Which presidential candidate has the best track record on Medicare?
Lyndon Johnson! But if you mean current candidates, look to those who favor a strong traditional program, rather than further fragmentation and privatization, which has proven to be fiscally wasteful, and ineffective for our neediest beneficiaries.