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2013 Oregon Rural Health Hero Award announced

The Oregon Office of Rural Health at Oregon Health & Science University has awarded the 2013 Oregon Rural Health Hero Award to Verna Pettyjohn of Burns, Ore. The award honors an outstanding person, program or organization that has improved the quality and availability of health care in rural communities.

Since November 2005, Verna Pettyjohn has been a dedicated, committed Medicare counselor and advocate for Harney County. She averages 180 client contacts per year, assisting people with all manner of health care access and Medicare information needs.

Pettyjohn spends at least 20 hours a week counseling clients, developing and implementing program outreach, training other volunteer counselors, grant writing and coordinating the SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) program.

Without Verna’s total dedication to this program and to meeting her clients’ needs, many would go without lifesaving medications, unable to afford a doctor’s visit, and would end up paying for medical services that would have been covered by insurance if they only had access to the correct information.

Verna will receive her award at the 2013 Oregon Rural Health Conference on Thursday, Oct, 24, 2013, at the Double Tree by Hilton, Lloyd Center, Portland, Ore.

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