The Rhode Island Department of Human Services, Division of Elderly Affairs (DEA) is looking for volunteers to help fight Medicare fraud in Rhode Island. Individuals are being sought to work with the RI Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Program to alert state Medicare beneficiaries about protecting themselves and others from fraud.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), fraud attempts increase during Medicare Open Enrollment when beneficiaries have a chance to change their Medicare health plans and Medicare prescription drug plans. Open enrollment runs now through Dec. 7.
“It is our goal to continue to keep our Rhode Island Medicare population keenly aware of the possible fraudulent activity that could negatively affect them, and importantly, to arm them with the education and tools to combat it,” said Catherine Taylor, director of RI’s Division of Elderly Affairs. “Our critical volunteer core helps do just that.”
Since 1997, more than 25.3 million people have been reached during community education events, more than 4 million beneficiaries have been educated, and more than 24,400 volunteers have been active. Total savings to Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries and other payers attributed to the SMP projects is $106 million.
The Senior Medicare Patrol Program in Rhode Island features partner agencies throughout the state where Rhode Islanders can visit or call if they suspect fraud. Volunteers help check paperwork such as Medicare notices and billing – looking for errors and discrepancies. Both one-on-one counsel and general education sessions are available through the state’s six SMP program partners: THE POINT (462-4444); 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).
Beneficiaries can help fight fraud by protecting their Medicare number, reading Medicare Summary Notices, reporting concerns and not giving out personal information.