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As Masons, we care for one another and for those in need of assistance within our communities. The Masonic Villages' Outreach Program assists in these efforts, and I am pleased to share with you the numerous new services we have developed over the past year to better serve our membership, our families and friends.

Those of you who are in the stage of life where you are planning for your future health care and financial needs may have already received a letter from our Grand Master about our new Long Term Care Group Member Program. This exciting new member benefit is available to you and your family and may help to ensure that you have the resources to secure the quality care you deserve in the future, while preserving your estate for your loved ones.

Another important decision that many Medicare beneficiaries will be faced with in the upcoming months is deciding if the new Medicare Prescription Drug plan is one that will meet their needs. Enrollment for this new program, which will take effect January 1, 2006, will begin November 15, 2005, and end May 15, 2006. If you qualify for extra help in paying for a Medicare prescription plan or if you may potentially qualify for assistance, you should have received a letter from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services or the Social Security Administration this summer. More information about the prescription drug plan will be available this fall. If you have any questions regarding this program, there is a wealth of information available at A task force of staff across all Masonic Villages locations has been meeting to evaluate the plan for our residents, and we will also provide educational sessions for others in our communities who may have questions about the implementation of this program. If you are interested in being contacted when these sessions are scheduled this fall, please e-mail

In the May issue, we invited attorneys with certain specialties to volunteer to assist Outreach in providing direction to individuals in need of legal assistance. To date, at least nine attorneys and one legal assistant have stepped forward to answer the call. The next step will be to establish an operating procedure on how we will utilize the panel to provide counsel to individuals calling the Outreach Program for legal advice. As a result of the article, we have also received numerous calls from individuals wanting to utilize the service, which validates the need for this program. It's not too late to become a part of this exciting new opportunity to serve our Brethren and their families. If you want to sign up, please call the Outreach Program. (1-800-462-7664).

Outreach has also responded to the numerous requests for medical equipment by creating a Durable Medical Equipment Loan Closet. Oftentimes, when the need for short-term medical equipment arises, finding and obtaining the necessary equipment, including the financial burden it can place on the individual or family, may be challenging. Currently, we have a limited supply of wheelchairs, walkers and hospital beds available for loan. In an effort to enhance the amount of equipment we have available to offer, the Outreach Program will accept the donation of new or lightly used equipment that is clean and in good working order. If you are interested in utilizing or donating to the program, please contact the Outreach Program.

The Outreach Program has a wealth of information to share, from education to referrals.

If you are interested in having an Outreach representative come to your lodge to give a presentation on the numerous services available to members, call 1-800-462-7664. Keep this number on hand ­ you never know when you or a loved one will need it!

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