It is with much gratitude that we are pleased to announce that our California Senior Medicare Patrol has been awarded one of five $150,000 grants to promote cultural awareness, support and competence to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in our work. In combination with the other four SMPs awarded this grant in Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York and North Dakota awarded, California’s efforts will help inform best practices for programs nationwide.
While diversity, equity and inclusion efforts can take on many forms, and in this case focuses on fighting Medicare fraud, ultimately this work is to weave reparations, healing and growth in a society hurt from racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism and other forms of prejudice.
Our California project will work specifically with Latino individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP), as Latinos are the largest racial/ethnic group in California and nearly half of Latino Medicare beneficiaries have low English proficiency. Our project aims to ensure that these beneficiaries have access to accurate and current information about Medicare hospice, learn how this underused benefit can help them and/or their family members and know how to spot and avoid hospice fraud. Medicare hospice fraud is one of our top three types of fraud in California and scammers have targeted this and other low English proficient populations more intensely. Our reported hospice fraud cases also increased by 25% in the past year.
Given the number of hospices in the state, this trend is not surprising. There are over 3,000 hospices in California, most located between Bakersfield and the southern border with Mexico. In comparison, there are approximately 45 hospices in Florida and 40 in New York.
For our DEI grant project, we will be working in close collaboration with two of our partners, California Hospice and Palliative Care Association (CHAPCA) and Inland Empire Caregiver Resource Center (IECRC).
If you have any questions about this project, please contact Christina Dimas-Kahn, our Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-855-613-7080.