(Update: Adding video, comments from Bend Park and Recreation)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — A discounted fitness program for Bend seniors, Silver Sneakers, is coming to an end at the end of the year at the Bend Park and Recreation District.
BPRD Community Relations Manager Julie Brown said Thursday the program will continue in other fitness places, but the relationship with Bend Park and Recreation is ending.
Within the last year, the price of a pass was increased — one pass now gets you into both the Juniper Swim and Fitness and Larkspur Community Center. Bend Park and Rec negotiated with Medicare Advantage plans but was not able to come to terms with the Silver Sneakers provider, Trivity Health.
She said there’s about 1,500 visitors per month at the Juniper Swim and Fitness Center and the Larkspur Community Center.
“We are going to be discontinuing our relationship with Silver Sneakers, which only accounts for 15 percent of those total visits on a monthly basis,” Brown said.
The Medicare Advantage plans provide access to a gym membership, which is free to the patron.
Brown said Bend Park and Rec is doing everything it can to help people being affected by the change, and help them with options moving forward.
“There are other plan options that anyone who qualifies for Medicare can qualify for.” Brown said.
There’s also a Bend Park and Rec scholarship program to help those of limited means.
Brown added, “We are doing everything we can to try to reduce when there are financial barriers to being able to participate.”
I spoke with Bend Resident Rob Collins, who is in the program but asked not to be on camera.
Collins said, “I’m very disappointed in the Park and Recreation (district) for discontinuing the program. I know from what I read that they couldn’t come to an agreement with Tivity. I think if something is valuable to the residents and the citizens, the city should work toward offering and maintaining it.”
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