FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2023
For more information, contact: Catherina Isidro, Executive Director and SMP Project Director, California Health Advocates, firstname.lastname@example.org, 916-465-8104
Sacramento, CA — California Health Advocates (CHA) received great news from the U.S. 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 the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program from 2023 – 2028. 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 Catherina Isidro, Executive Director for CHA and Project Director for California SMP. “Medicare fraud and other scams targeting older adults and persons with disabilities are widespread and have grown, especially in these past pandemic years. Yet, together with our dedicated staff, and growing team of passionate volunteers and partners across the state and nationwide, our goal is to prevent fraud by providing beneficiaries, their families, caregivers and providers with timely education and 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 hundreds of 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.
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 Christina Dimas-Kahn, Deputy Executive Director for CHA and SMP Program 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 work, to recruit and train more bilingual and bicultural volunteers to meet the needs of our linguistically and ethnically diverse state, and to together 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 accurate and timely Medicare and related health care coverage information, education, and policy advocacy. CHA is the grantee of the California Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) project, funded by the Administration for Community Living (ACL). California SMP, and all SMPs around the country, empower and assist people with Medicare and Medicaid to avoid, detect, and report healthcare fraud. CHA also provides community organizations and government agencies with up-to-date information, and in particular to the 24 local HICAPs that provide individual benefits counseling and community education directly to Medicare beneficiaries and their families. For more information, visit its website at cahealthadvocates.org.