The Rhode Island Department of Human Services, Division of Elderly Affairs (DEA) is seeking volunteers to help stop Medicare fraud in Rhode Island by working with the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program. SMP volunteers educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries, their families and their caregivers to detect and report Medicare and Medicaid fraud. In addition to protecting beneficiaries from fraud, SMP volunteers help to preserve the integrity of these programs.
SMPs nationwide draw approximately 5,000 active volunteers a year. Last year in R.I., there were 40 active SMP volunteers. They worked more than 700 hours to resolve nearly 8,000 simple fraud inquiries. One-on-one counseling sessions jumped from 53 in 2010 to 1,759 in 2011.
“DEA is committed to increasing awareness of Medicare fraud and abuse among Rhode Island beneficiaries,” said Director Catherine Taylor. “This awareness is the pivotal information that can help them to avoid becoming victims of medical identity fraud, and other scams that are designed to steal their money or assets.”
In-person counseling, as well as general education sessions, are available through six SMP program partners: United Way/2-1-1 in Rhode Island, Tri-Town Community Action Agency (351-2750); South County Community Action Agency (789-3016); the East Bay Community Action Program (437-1000); the West Bay Community Action Program (732-4660); and Child and Family Services of Newport County, Inc. (848-4185).
The SMP program recommends these important fraud-prevention tips:
1. PROTECT Your Medicare Number
2. DETECT Read your Medicare summary notice
3. REPORT Your concerns
The mission of the Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs is to preserve the independence, dignity and capacity for choice for seniors, adults with disabilities, families and caregivers. For more information about the R.I. SMP program or to volunteer to fight Medicare fraud, call DEA at 462-0194, TTY 462-0740.