California Health Advocates & Equality California Create Partnership for Mutual Medicare Fraud Trainings

(SANTA ANA, CA) Today, the Equality California Institute and California Health Advocates commence their innovative partnership to train CHA’s Senior Medicare Patrol volunteer workforce on culturally competent outreach strategies to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and to train Equality California’s staff on Medicare fraud and abuse. This partnership allows both organizations to do better outreach within the LGBT senior community on how to identify, prevent and detect Medicare fraud and abuse.

“This is a fantastic partnership with California Health Advocates, where both sides win. We know how to talk with the LGBT community, they have vital strategies to help our seniors avoid being defrauded or abused,” said John O’Connor, executive director. “And all of this will benefit our Californian LGBT elders, helping them become informed healthcare consumers.”

Founded in 1997, the CHA is the leading Medicare advocacy and education non-profit in California, working to educate and advocate for Medicare beneficiaries and their families, as well as educating Medicare professionals on California’s most pressing Medicare issues. “We are thrilled with our partnership with Equality California Institute,” said Julie Schoen, Senior Medicare Patrol Project Director for California Health Advocates. “Successfully serving our diverse LGBT communities requires good relationship building, cultural understanding and respect. Receiving training for our staff and volunteers on such culturally competent outreach strategies will allow this to happen naturally…and we also gain a whole new team in spreading the message on Medicare fraud prevention.”

This partnership is made possible by the Administration on Community Living awarding CHA the Senior Medicare Patrol Integration Grant. This grant broadens both CHA’s Senior Medicare Patrol and EQCAI’s healthcare outreach programs, builds on the educational work both organizations do in informing Californians about Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, and strengthens their skills in communicating health information to the LGBT community.

# # #

California Health Advocates is an independent non-profit organization that provides quality Medicare and related health care coverage information, education and policy advocacy. Senior Medicare Patrol volunteers are available in each county through 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

Equality California Institute (EQCAI) educates lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and the public at large about issues impacting the LGBT community and our allies. Established in 2000, EQCAI organizes and empowers individuals, communities and allied groups to work proactively for fairness, equality and justice.


Elaine Wong Eakin
Executive Director, California Health Advocates (CHA)

Jesse Melgar
Equality California Institute (EQCAI)
323-848-9801 ext. 207

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.