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As of June 14, health care professionals kissed the Health Care Financing Administration goodbye. Citing its negative image, President Bush announced that the organization will now be known as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. As part of its new and improved image, the newly named organization will introduce later this year a toll-free hotline to answer people's questions about Medicare 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The number — (800) MEDICARE — now is open to take calls from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Also on tap for the agency is a $35 million national media campaign to highlights the health insurance options available to the elderly. Among them are health maintenance organizations, fee-for-service Medicare, and private insurance to fill gaps in Medicare and medical savings accounts. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson said of the organization's new image, "We're making quality service the No. 1 priority"