Osten campaign appearance takes back seat to Prague helping seniors

Norwich - Officially, it was a campaign stop for Democratic 19th state Senate District hopeful Cathy Osten and several supporters discussing senior issues with residents of the Regency Heights nursing home on Crouch Avenue.

But the hour-long visit mostly featured state Sen. Edith Prague, D-Columbia, who will retire from the district seat after the election, in her element. Prague answered questions, handed out forms on the state's new Medicare Savings Program, living wills and how seniors can get a free cellphone.

State Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, state Comptroller Kevin Lembo and Osten spoke to about 15 residents and staff Thursday.

Osten said Prague asked her to run when she announced her retirement in the spring. She said she knew Prague will remain active on behalf of seniors.

The political stump stop drew criticism from Osten's Republican opponent, state Rep. Christopher Coutu, R-Norwich, who said he has tried to schedule a visit to Regency Heights and has not received a return call.

Regency Administrator Jarrett McClure was away and not available for comment.

Prague called the new Medicare Savings plan "one of the best things we ever did." Prague also announced a recent court ruling that Medicare must pay for physical therapy as long as the patient's doctor deems the service beneficial.

c.bessette@theday.com

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