SHIIP counselor receives award for commitment

Published 7:40 pm Friday, September 7, 2018

Senior citizens can find plenty of activities at Washington’s Grace Martin Harwell Senior Center in which to participate to help keep them healthy. They can also find out about the Seniors Health Insurance Information Program, which also can help keep them healthy.

JoAnne Poore, the SHIIP counselor at the center, works with senior citizens who express interest in SHIIP or participate in SHIIP. Her work with SHIIP, a statewide program, has resulted in her being named its Southeast Region Volunteer of the Year. She is scheduled to be recognized for that honor at the Washington City Council meeting Monday.

While SHIIP has a small, paid staff, it relies on county coordinators to help organize nearly 1,000 trained volunteers to provide Medicare counseling in all 100 counties in North Carolina. SHIIP is a division of the N.C. Department of Insurance that offers free, objective information about Medicare, Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare Advantage, long-term care insurance and other health-insurance issues.

Poore works 18 hours a week — 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays — with an eye toward providing senior citizens as much information and assistance as possible when it comes to health-related issues. “I’m called a part-time information and assistance staff member. I do information and assistance. I’m a SHIIP counselor. … I’m a certified SHIIP counselor. I’ve been working at this job for over five year. It was five years last month,” Poore said.

Poore stays busy. “I help a ton of folks in Beaufort County and the city. … I counsel people who are new to Medicare. I enroll people in Part D drug plans. I get subsidies by applying (for them). I just finished with a client — subsidies to help pay for their medicines,” she said. “I help them apply to get free medicines — that are expensive — from the manufacturers of the drugs. I help with other kinds of things, too.”

Poore is convinced her work pays remarkable dividends. “I only work to help people because I help so many in Beaufort County with open enrollment in drug plans last year. I saw about 150 people, and I saved about $130,000 for them pertaining to drug plans,” she said.

Recently, she helped one man save $4,000 when it came to obtaining needed medicine.

Barbara Pope, SHIIP’s southeast region manager, wrote this in the form nominating Poore as the 2017-2018Volunteer of the Year in the region, which includes 22 counties. “When you think of SHIIP services in Beaufort County, JoAnne is the one who stands out as she has been the ‘back bone ’of the program. … In the Regional Manager’s opinion, she has been the one who has carried this program with her consistent presence in counseling beneficiaries.”

Pope also wrote: “JoAnne has also been an integral part in growing and maintaining the SHIIP services provided in Beaufort County. She has sought out collaborative partnerships with local pharmacists and providers, and works tirelessly to meet every request for one-on-one counseling sessions. If you call the DSS office or any pharmacy in the county, they know who JoAnne is and have the utmost respect for her.”

For more information about Seniors Health Insurance Information Program, visit or call JoAnne Poore at 975-9368, ext. 5 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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