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Pioneers in 5 Star Service • Ronstadt Insurance • Tucson, AZ • 520-721-4848

Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP)

The Purpose of the Program and How it Works

Billions of federal dollars are lost annually due to health care fraud, error and abuse.  Since 1997, the Administration on Aging has funded SMP projects to recruit and to train retired professionals and other senior citizens about how to recognize and report instances or patterns of health care fraud.  In addition they are made aware of how threats to financial independence and health status may occur when citizens are victimized by fraudulent schemes.  These SMP projects partner with the aging network, as well as community, faithbased, tribal, and health care organizations. Together they utilize a variety of outreach strategies to educate and empower their peers to identify, prevent and report health care fraud.  The SMP program empowers seniors through increased awareness and understanding of healthcare programs. This knowledge helps seniors to protect themselves from the economic and health-related consequences of Medicare and Medicaid fraud, error and abuse.  SMP projects also work to resolve beneficiary complaints of potential fraud in partnership with state and national fraud control/consumer protection entities, including Medicare contractors, state Medicaid fraud control units, state attorneys general, the Office of the Inspector General and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.Senior volunteers undergo several days of training, reviewing health care benefit statements and outlining the steps seniors can take to protect themselves.  Volunteers work in local senior centers and other sites where Medicare beneficiaries gather teaching such skills as:

1. How to treat their Medicare number as they would their credit cards

2. How to use journals to keep track of their medical services and health care instructions

3. How to read their Medicare Summary Notices, and

4. How to get answers to billing questions.

Pima Council on Aging will be holding an orientation meeting for interested volunteers on Monday, April 9 from 8:30 to noon at 8467 East Broadway Blvd (north side of the street, between Sarnoff and Camino Seco).  Training sessions will be held on the following three consecutive Mondays, April 16, 23, and 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The Senior Patrol Program is a vital and important part of the senior community.  You can get involved by volunteering, hosting a presentation or attend a training.

For further information or to schedule a presentation, call Lydia Baker at Pima Council on Aging at 546-2011