Senior Medicare Patrol

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BRENDA MELARA
BRENDA MELARA

Senior Medicare Patrol

By Brenda Melara

Medicare waste, abuse and fraud cost taxpayers anywhere from $60 billion to $100 billion a year and threaten the viability of the program.  An example is the recent conviction of the operator of three home health care agencies who falsely billed Medicare $57 million for services such as insulin injections, physical therapy and nursing care that were unnecessary or never provided and who paid kickbacks to doctors and recruiters for referrals.

While every beneficiary should become proactive in protecting against waste and abuse, they do not have to shoulder this responsibility alone. Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) exists to empower and assist seniors, their families, and their caregivers to prevent and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse. SMP recruits and trains retired professionals to teach Medicare beneficiaries how to recognize and report possible healthcare fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid systems. SMP also works to resolve beneficiary complaints of potential fraud, waste, and abuse. Working alongside state and national fraud control and consumer protection entities, SMP has been instrumental in returning millions of dollars to the Medicare system.

SMP offers education sessions, community outreach events, and one-on-one counseling. To learn more about the many services that SMP provides, please visit our website at www.stopmedicarefraud.org. To report any suspicious activity, report it at 877-272-8720.

This project was supported, in part by a grant (Nos. 90MP194-01-01, 90MP0196-01-00, and 90MP195-01-04), from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

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