Silver Sneakers is likely addition to Clearwater tennis center

The city council supports an amendment to bring the senior citizen fitness program to the McMullen Tennis Complex.
CLEARWATER — An amendment to an agreement with American Healthway Services, LLC gained city council endorsement Monday to bring a senior citizens fitness program to the Henry L. McMullen Tennis Complex.
Silver Sneakers, available to eligible Medicare members through some health care providers, is currently offered at five of the city’s recreation centers.
A recent decision by the program’s sponsoring organization, Healthways Services, Inc., to include tennis centers on its list of eligible facilities, coupled with the enormous success of the program, led the city to garner council approval.
“When we did the Silver Sneakers program, our projection was we’d have about 300 members,” Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Dunbar told the council Monday.  The program has in excess of 1,500 active members. “Through the course of the program we’ve been close to 2,000 members,” he said,
Adding a sixth facility to the list of approved Silver Sneakers sites hopefully will bring an even greater increase in memberships, he said.
Dunbar informed the council that the city gets reimbursed by Healthways Services for each local member of the Silver Sneakers program.
While the service is offered at no extra cost to eligible applicants, for every member who participates at the Clearwater facilities, the city is reimbursed $3 per visit, up to $30, or 10 visits, per month. After 10 visits, the city doesn’t receive compensation.
Dunbar said in an interview that the city doesn’t offer Silver Sneakers as a way to make money off its residents.
“The idea is to keep seniors active and healthy while minimizing health risks,” he said. “It’s about keeping the community engaged and healthy, not about making the city money. We look at it as a win-win for everybody.”
Because Monday’s meeting was a work session, the council couldn’t formally vote on the amendment. Should it receive final council approval tonight, the McMullen Tennis Complex will join the Long Center, Countryside Recreation Center, North Greenwood Recreation & Aquatic Complex, Ross Norton Park Recreation Complex and Clearwater Beach Recreation Complex as facilities that offer the Silver Sneakers program.

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