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In brief: Healthcare

By JIM ROSS

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 14, 2001


More benefits coming for military retirees

Congress continues debating if and when Medicare should include prescription drug coverage. But Medicare-eligible military retirees, their spouses and survivors will receive additional benefits starting April 1. On that date, eligible beneficiaries will receive pharmacy benefits that include access to military treatment facilities' pharmacies, the National Mail Order Pharmacy program and retail pharmacies. Anyone who is 65 or older on or before April 1 will be eligible to use the retail and mail order pharmacy benefit; those who turn 65 after that date must be enrolled in Medicare Part B to enjoy the benefit. On Oct. 1, beneficiaries who continue to receive care from their current Medicare providers will have TRICARE become second payor to Medicare. Beneficiaries must be eligible for Medicare Part A and enrolled in Part B to participate in this health program.

Citrus Memorial Hospital hopes to start program

INVERNESS -- Citrus Memorial Hospital still is fighting for the right to establish an adult heart surgery program. Last year, the state granted a certificate of need to Citrus Memorial, but that grant is being challenged. If all goes well, the challenge will end by the middle of this year, and Citrus will be free to begin work. The hospital plans to spend $11-million to start the program.

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