Field Lessons: An Interview with Darlene Sampson

For the last 11 years, Darlene Sampson served at the Pennsylvania State Health Insurance Assistance Program (APPRISE) Director and led MIPPA outreach in her state. Before retiring last month, Darlene spoke with NCOA and shared insights on the importance of a well-coordinated network, developing partnerships, and how changes in the low-income Medicare beneficiary population has impacted program outreach efforts.

Listen to the interview (requires email registration)

Darlene Sampson

Outgoing APPRISE and MIPPA Director Darlene Sampson

Below are a few highlights from our conversation and where you can find them in the interview.

Describe the structure of Pennsylvania’s aging network and the steps taken to ensure the network continues to work together.  (Begins at 4:02 on the recording)

Pennsylvania utilizes a both a regional and county level approach to MIPPA program outreach and coordination. Joint meeting and planning across AAAs, SHIPs, and ADRCs ensure program coordination. Ongoing communication and training help partners understand their role in outreach efforts and how outreach targets are established and measured.

Can you talk about the past challenges and future challenges of LIS/MSP enrollment?
(Begins at 30:45 on the recording)

While partners have the flexibility to create their own outreach efforts, each year APPRISE establishes several state-wide outreach initiatives that require mandatory participation by all partners. Each partner is assigned an outreach goal and must report on the outreach initiative and challenges reaching the goal. The state’s recent grocery store initiative is a good example of a successful state-wide initiative.

(Additional topics discussed include ongoing training due to community partner turnover; lessons learned with the under 65 Medicare population; the dynamic nature of outreach; social media, TV campaigns, and the willingness to attempt a wide variety of outreach strategies knowing that some may miss the mark.)

What past Center for Benefit Access resources have proven to be the most valuable to you and your network? (Begins at 52:30 on the recording)

For me, the most valuable webinars are those that feature fellow grantees sharing their outreach initiatives and resources. It is beneficial to ask questions directly to the individual who was responsible for developing and executing the outreach initiative or created a new resource, template, or fact sheet.

The most valuable NCOA resources are the fact sheets that provide information on program income and resource requirements that I can print out and have on hand. The easy search feature on the NCOA website means that any resources is just a few clicks away.

The Center for Benefits Access thanks Darlene for her years of dedicated service and appreciates her taking the time to share her knowledge and lessons learned. 

Darlene, good luck on your next chapter!