National Volunteer Spotlight Falls on SMP Volunteer, Gary Molina!

National Volunteer Spotlight Falls on SMP Volunteer, Gary Molina!
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) recently highlighted one of our SMP volunteers, Gary Molina as part of National Volunteer Week. He was picked as one of 6 volunteers highlighted nationwide. The N4A has about 90,000 volunteers in various programs across the country.
 
Congratulations Gary!!! And Thank You to all our volunteers state and nationwide!
Below is the article on Gary. See the N4A’s page on National Volunteer Week to read about the other 5 highlighted volunteers from around the States.

Highly Skilled Volunteer Helps Save Millions in Fraud

With Medicare fraud and abuse costing the U.S. an estimated $60-$90 million annually, fighting fraud behind the scenes is a job that Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) volunteer Gary Molina takes very seriously.

SMP empowers Medicare beneficiaries, their family and caregivers to protect, detect and report Medicare fraud through outreach and education. While most SMP volunteers work in the community to raise awareness about Medicare fraud prevention, CHA has a “behind the scenes” highly skilled team, which Gary is part of, working on its SMP Information Reporting System (SIRS). Gary’s exceptional analytical and software skills make data searching and analysis easy and convenient for the SMP staff and volunteers.

What may appear as a rather daunting volunteer role for many, Gary is able to do with great ease, according to the host agency of the SMP, California Health Advocates (CHA). “The field that I volunteer in is something that I really enjoy doing, so it doesn’t feel like work,” said Gary.

Gary has a background in auditing and a great knowledge of Microsoft programs, both skill sets critical to the “grunt work” of identifying potential fraud and abuse. “Gary easily pulls reports from the SIRS allowing staff to check out performance measures and identify fraud trends,” said Sandy Morales, SMP Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator at CHA. “This process is crucial because it guides SMP staff to spot Medicare trends and issue SMP Medicare fraud alerts to our network, which includes community groups, law enforcement and the Office of Inspector General.”

Gary has always had the desire to volunteer and attributes that in part to his parents. He recalled his mother who volunteered as a “candy striper” in a local hospital for many years, which this memory instilled in him the idea that volunteering was good to do and could fulfill his desire to give back to his community. “I feel that my contribution is very simple, and volunteering alone is a significant part of the reward,” he said.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.