February 28, 2007
Program Aimed at Reducing Health Care Fraud Takes On a New Identity
The name change is part of a national campaign to enhance identity and foster greater awareness for the Senior Medicare Patrol programs located in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. Included in this effort is the new program logo and official tagline: “Empowering Seniors to Prevent Healthcare Fraud.”
“Although the name has changed, the mission of Medicare education and fraud reporting remains the same,” said Diana Scully, Director of the DHHS Office of Elder Services. “I am proud of the work that has been done in the past and look forward to the continued success of the Maine SMP.”
The SMP program is funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA). It is comprised of a national network of trained volunteers and counselors in community-based projects who help older Americans avoid unintended errors and detect deliberate abuses in Medicare.
In Maine, more than 70 active volunteers, including doctors, nurses, retirees and community leaders work through their local Area Agency on Aging to assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers with Medicare-related issues. This includes learning how to take an active role in detecting, preventing and reporting health care errors, fraud and abuse. In the United States, it is estimated that improper Medicare payments cost taxpayers $10.8 billion in FY 2006.
Along with one-on-one assistance, volunteers and staff host community presentations, including “Medicare Bingo,” to educate Mainers about Medicare benefits and potential fraud.
To contact the Maine SMP to discuss volunteer opportunities or to schedule a presentation or appointment, call your local Area Agency on Aging, toll-free at 1-877-353-3771. For more information about the SMP program, visit www.smpresource.org.