FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2018
For more information, contact: Tatiana Fassieux, Board Chair, 530-898-6717, or Micki Nozaki, Project Director, 855-613-7080
Sacramento, CA — California Health Advocates (CHA) received great news from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living. CHA was awarded one of the country’s 54 grants for the next 5-year grant cycle for Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). CHA has been the SMP grantee since the program’s inception in 1997.
“We are thrilled and honored to receive the new SMP grant award to continue our fraud prevention education and outreach throughout the state,” said Micki Nozaki, Project Director for California SMP. “Medicare fraud and other scams targeting older adults and persons with disabilities are widespread. Yet, together with our dedicated staff, and creative team of volunteers and partners across the state and nationwide, our goal is to stop fraud by providing beneficiaries, their families and providers with timely information to protect themselves from fraud and scams, learn how to detect fraud and report it.”
The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program, first established in 1997 by federal law, empowers Medicare beneficiaries, and their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse. SMP projects nationwide provide local outreach, education, and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries through a trained volunteer workforce. California’s SMP, with its over 600 volunteers across the state, conducts outreach campaigns, organizes and participates in community events, teaches Medicare beneficiaries to protect their Medicare numbers, shows their peers how to detect billing discrepancies on their Medicare statements, and to how report suspicious activity for further investigation. They also have their own “SMP superheroes” that use humor and skits to educate and empower their peers to stop Medicare fraud.
For this 5-year grant cycle, the Administration for Community Living awarded one grant for each state and one for the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“One of the SMP program’s many strengths are the passion and innovation of its staff, volunteers and partners locally and across the country,” said Sandy Morales, SMP Volunteer Coordinator and Case Manager. “Every program shares their effective and creative tools for outreach and education. We learn from each other’s challenges and celebrate our successes. Our California SMP team is excited to continue this good and much needed work to educate beneficiaries, their families and providers on Medicare fraud and prevention.”
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California Health Advocates is an independent non-profit organization that provides quality Medicare and related health care coverage information, education and policy advocacy. SMP volunteers are available in each county through local advocacy agencies including the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP), which provides benefits counseling and community education directly to those with Medicare and their families. For more information on CHA, SMP and HICAP, visit CHA’s website at cahealthadvocates.org.