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SAMHSA News - November/December 2005, Volume 13, Number 6

Update: Medicare Rx Benefit

SAMHSA is collaborating with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on efforts to help Medicare beneficiaries with mental and substance use disorders make informed decisions and enroll in the prescription drug coverage available through Medicare starting January 1, 2006. (See SAMHSA News, July/August 2005.)

To do this, SAMHSA and CMS are supporting stakeholder groups and community-based organizations to perform outreach and educational activities. Efforts include distribution of printed materials and resources, informational fairs, presentations at regularly scheduled conferences, "train-the-trainer" sessions, and development of Internet referral and decision-making tools.

The four groups funded to provide outreach and education include the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the National Mental Health Association.

In addition, SAMHSA's Web site now features a special section on the Medicare Modernization Act. The site includes a description of the Medicare prescription drug coverage, an explanation of enrollment and significant enrollment dates, and links to other resources. For more information, visit

A Drug Plan Finder tool is available on the CMS Web site at For those without Internet access, call Medicare's hotline at 1-800-633-4227.

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