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It’s Our Anniversary

Everyone of us has an elderly person in our lives.  It can be your mom and dad, aunt or uncle or that grouchy old man next door.  We all have one, know one, associate with one in one way or another.  And many of you don’t really know how to deal with the problems that make you feel that you are not old enough to help them.

It is for that reason that the Senior Medicare Patrol exists.  On June 6, 2024, (“6/5”,  because most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65 years old) the Senior Medicare Patrol will celebrate 27 years of existence.  The SMP mission is to empower and assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud.  We offer outreach and education to the community.  We engage civic minded volunteers that want to be involved in the fight against fraud on the elderly.  We assist the complainant in gathering relevant information and properly formatting their complaint and submitting their complaint to the appropriate state and federal agency for further investigation.

Billions of federal dollars are lost annually due to healthcare fraud, errors and abuse.  The Administration for Community Living (ACL) Office of Healthcare Information and Counseling manages the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) grants.  SMPs work to resolve beneficiary complaints of potential healthcare fraud in collaboration with state and federal partners, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, state Medicaid fraud control units, and the state attorney general.

SMPs recruit and train retired professionals and other volunteers to recognize and report instances or patterns of healthcare fraud.  These activities support ACL’s goals of promoting increased choice and greater independence among older adults and individuals with disabilities.  SMP activities also serve to enhance the financial, emotional, physical, and mental well-being of older adults, thereby increasing their capacity to maintain security in retirement and make better financial and healthcare choices.

SMPs were authorized in 1997 under Titles II and IV of the Older Americans Act, the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.  SMP grants are provided for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Currently the SMP network includes more than 7,000 members at more than 500 local sites.  

SMP team members are trained to:
     Promote community awareness of healthcare fraud, errors and abuse.
     Disseminate consumer education materials through presentations, and at community events.
     Provide counselling and serve as consumer advocates to resolve service and billing issues.
     Make appropriate referrals to the proper investigative enforcement authorities.

In addition to SMP program services, many grantees also offer other services to the elderly that are available in their individual states.  There are many non-profit organizations in the state of Texas that are available to assist the elderly with all types of problems that the general public is just not aware of.  The SMP can connect you to these agencies, both public and private that are ready to assist you.

In the state of Texas, the SMP grant is currently held by the Better Business Bureau Education Foundation.  This arrangement has resulted in the SMP uncovering a plethora of non-medical fraudulent scams that are victimizing the elderly population throughout the state of Texas and assisting the client in properly dealing with these problems.
For more information or to request SMP’s help, or a presentation from one of our representatives you may call the SMP hotline at 888-341-6187.