The Pennsylvania APPRISE (SHIP), the PA Prime Time Health program, and the Center for Aging and Population Health (CAPH) at the University of Pittsburgh are collaborating on a series of workshops that educate older adults about healthy aging, promote Medicare’s preventive services, and include outreach for benefits that help pay Medicare costs–the Part D Low Income Subsidy (LIS) and Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs).

The “10 Keys”™ to Healthy Aging program developed by CAPH is modeled on evidence-based research for individuals age 55+. Its purpose is to improve the lives of adults as they age. While the frequency of the workshops can vary, typically one Key is delivered each week for 10 weeks.

Who was the target audience?
In 2014, APPRISE, Prime Time Health, and CAPH piloted the program in the six PA counties with the worst health outcomes, and targeted Medicare beneficiaries. The “10 Keys”™ to Healthy Aging program is similar to Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs, but does not require that participants have a chronic illness. The pilot workshops were well received and are now offered statewide.

How does it work?
An APPRISE staff member (or volunteer) pairs with a Prime Time Health trained instructor who conducts the workshops. The Prime Time Health instructor presents the Key and the APPRISE representative presents the Medicare Preventive Service benefits that correlates with the Key, as well as information about LIS and MSP.

Implementing the program involves the following:

  • Recruiting sites. APPRISE makes available a mini-grant of $500 to help cover printing costs for fliers, mailers, postage, participant and instructor manuals, etc. All 52 APPRISE local programs are permitted to apply for the grant. If a local program covers more than one county, they are permitted to receive the mini-grant for each county in which they conduct workshops.
  • Medicare preventive services PowerPoint. APPRISE used the CMS Medicare Preventive Services publication as a model and tailored the PowerPoint to match each weeks “10 Keys”™ workshop. For example, the Prime Time Health instructors teach about the importance of receiving a variety of cancer screenings. The APPRISE representative then follows with information on when and how much Medicare pays for each type of screening. During the first Key meeting, the APPRISE representative discusses LIS and MSP and is on hand for the remaining Key workshops to speak with any participant who has questions about the two programs.
  • Research study. CAPH asks attendees to voluntarily participate in a monthly call to measure whether the knowledge they gained from the workshops made a difference in how they take care of their health. The call is completed by an automated, push-button system to provide feedback. However, if the participant prefers to talk to an actual person, the request can be accommodated.
  • New referrals. In year three, APPRISE incorporated an LIS/MSP questionnaire/referral card. The participant can complete the referral card and leave it with the APPRISE representative. The referral card is given to the person’s local APPRISE program and they are called to set up an appointment for screening and application assistance.

What were the results?
In year one (2014), APPRISE and CAPH targeted six counties with the worst health outcomes. While the completion rate (i.e., participants attended at least 8 of the 10 workshops) of 68% was lower than CAPH hoped for, they learned in follow-up surveys the workshops being held during winter months had limited attendance (PA is mostly rural – 42 out of 67 counties are rural).

In year two, APPRISE, Prime Time Health, and CAPH offered the program statewide and the participation more than doubled, though the completion rate remained around 68%. CAPH continues to seek feedback to improve the completion rate.

In year three, the program continues to grow, additional retention efforts are underway, and referrals for help with LIS and MSP benefits increase.

Year # of Participants Starting Workshops # of Participants Completing Workshops #of Workshops
2014 190 130 20
2015 506 338 42
Total 696 468 62


For more information
Roslyn Rogers, Statewide APPRISE Coordinator
Office of Education and Outreach
Pennsylvania Department of Aging