Health fair provides care for Fort Bragg civilian employees
November 5, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - For some veterans, transitioning to civilian healthcare from Tricare can be a daunting task. The purpose of the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center health fair is to help smooth the transition and to enable employees to make informed decisions about health care.
CPAC's health fair was held Oct. 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Fort Bragg Club.
Coordinating the event was an effort that took nearly six months, said Jenith Dunbar, CPAC benefits specialist. Vendors included the Social Security Administration, Womack Army Medical Center, Cape Fear Aesthetics, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Professional Eye Care and the Health Plex and Fellowship Fitness centers, as well as staffers from various health care companies.
Attendees learned how they are affected by changes in the Health Care Reform Act, which passed earlier this year, Dunbar said. One change will permit parents to carry children on their insurance plans until age 26.
Ted Bresnahan, a military veteran and civil service employee, attended the fair to get answers about eye and dental care, he said.
"I was seeking some comfort in making a decision . . . These things are painful financially. I miss the days of Tricare," said Bresnahan after visiting the BCBS booth.
One piece of information that Brenda Brown, an SSA public affairs specialist, conveyed to attendees is that claims can be filed online at www.socialsecurity.gov.
Wounded warriors may not know that they can have their applications for disability expedited.
Other tasks that can be performed online are applying for extra help with Medicare prescription drug costs, getting a personalized retirement benefit estimate, making a change of address or telephone number, as well as checking the status of an online application.
"We want people to utilize that (the website) because we have one of the best websites in government," Brown said.
Fort Bragg has its own SSA office, located in Room 1C9 of the Soldier Support Center.
According to Brown, representatives work by appointments only, which can be scheduled at (866) 964-6485 or (866) 331-6390.
Robert Foster retired from both the Air Force and from the civil service. Foster now works as a Department of Defense contractor said he learned of the health fair through e-mail.
"I wanted to come over and look around and ask questions," he said, after speaking with Mary Posey, a WAMC health benefits advisor, about more easily affording his medication.
For Paula Frank, being a human resources specialist on post makes her more determined to stay abreast about health care issues.
"I'm an advocate for health benefits. Plus, I need to know because I'm getting older," said Frank, 59.
In addition to getting health care information, other services offered included cholesterol and eyes exams, flu shots and massages.
Jerry McCullough, the office manager at Professional Eye Care in Hope Mills, said with people missing routine eye exams, his company conducted a lot of pre-screening work at the health fair. Optometrist, Dr. Eric Raynor, also was onhand to speak with attendees.
"We are here so that more patients can get an annual eye exam and get their vision taken care of," McCullough said.
For providers and vendors, attending CPAC's health fair was important.
"We like to take care of those who take care of us," said Kira Vasquez, who provided massages as a therapist with Cape Fear Aesthetics.