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County Donates to AASC to Help Expand Senior Food Outreach

NEWS RELEASE During an emergency meeting of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors on March 30, the board voted to donate $20,000 to Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens to help expand their food program to reach more area seniors. According to Tazewell County Administrator Eric Young, these funds were left in the budget from last year’s efforts to assist laid off coal miners. “There are only a few stipulations that the supervisors wanted in place,” said Young. “To benefit from these funds, individuals must reside in Tazewell County, must be 65 or older and must not currently be receiving services from Appalachian Agency.” Even before Gov. Ralph Northam issued Executive Order #55 on Monday that included a “stay at home order” to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), many seniors were afraid to go grocery shopping. This donation will help alleviate that fear. Not only will this donation be used to provide meals, but it can also include meals supplements such as Ensure or Glucerna. “We are extremely grateful that the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors entrusted us with this funding, which will allow Appalachian Agency to expand our nutrition program and provide meals to those seniors who may be afraid to leave their homes,” said AASC Executive Director Regina Sayers. AASC’s Care Coordination Department operates a food pantry and distributes emergency food supplies on a daily basis to clients in need. Many people served by the agency are financially unable to purchase enough food to sustain themselves. AASC operates a nutrition program that provides hot meals two days a week at eight senior nutrition sites located throughout the service area. This equates to 763 meals a month for a total of 133 participants. However, these nutrition sites have been closed due to the coronavirus situation. Appalachian Agency also offers a home-delivered meals program for clients who are unable to leave their homes and are not physically able to cook their meals. Approximately 460 people are served on a monthly basis, totaling 11,000 to 12,000 meals per month. The agency maintains a waiting list for this service due to a lack of funds. This is why donations such as this one from Tazewell County are so important. As a private nonprofit, AASC depends on donations and it is especially important during these uncertain times when area seniors may not have enough food. For more information about this emergency meals program, call Appalachian Agency at 276-964-4915, and ask for the Care Coordination Department.

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Service Update COVID-19

Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens provides essential services to seniors and individuals 18 and older with disabilities within Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties in Virginia. The Agency has been under constant review and advisement of recommendations made by CDC and Virginia Department of Health as well as the Virginia Department of Aging as to the safe continuation of our service operations. Some alterations have been made, however services remain fully available including public transportation, during this public health crisis.

The health, safety and wellbeing of our seniors and community is extremely important to us, so every decision we make will be based on just that. We will continue to monitor updates from the CDC, the Virginia Department of Health, the World Health Organization, as well as all other credible agencies with whom we work. We are taking steps to reduce exposure of clients and staff, both within our agency and in our community, to this disease. In the event we discover there has been a confirmed positive community case, additional restrictions may be implemented. However, we are preparing as though the disease will affect our community at any time. At the recommendation of our State and Federal Agencies, more precautions are being taken, in some cases, by the hour.

While it is important to be cautious, it is best to remain calm and vigilant in keeping ourselves and each other safe. Reactions and restrictions are being taken with an abundance of caution.

We extend our thoughts to all who have been impacted by the global outbreak to date. Thank you for your ongoing partnership with us.

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Senior Medicare Patrol

Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens offers Senior Medicare Patrol services. Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) coordination is offered in your neighborhood by Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens centrally located in Cedar Bluff, Virginia. SMP’s empower and assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse through outreach, counseling, and education. SMPs are grant-funded projects of the federal U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL). Their work is in three main areas:

1. Conduct Outreach and Education. SMPs give presentations to groups, exhibit at events, and work one-on-one with Medicare beneficiaries.

2. Engage Volunteers. Protecting older persons’ health, finances, and medical identity while saving precious Medicare dollars is a cause that attracts civic-minded Americans.

3. Receive Beneficiary Complaints. When Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers, and family members bring their complaints to the SMP, the SMP makes a determination about whether or not fraud, errors, or abuse is suspected. When fraud or abuse is suspected, they make referrals to the appropriate state and federal agencies for further investigation.

Services Provided to the General Public • Nationwide toll-free number: 877-808-2468. Available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Callers receive information about the SMP program and are connected to the SMP in their state for individualized assistance. This number is published in the Medicare & You handbook and other national Medicare and anti-fraud publications that reference the SMP program. • smpresource.com - Online tool to locate the SMP in each state Need information or have a question? AASC offers the services of an ombudsman to coordinate SMP volunteers. Information and inquiries may be directed to Sherry Cook at AASC by calling 276.964.4915.

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