Los Angeles, CA – Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) continues its mission to educate seniors to “Protect, Detect and Report” fraudulent activity, specifically related to suppliers of durable medical equipment. The final rule recently issued by Medicare equips the SMP project and increases protections for Medicare beneficiaries.
The new regulations strengthen existing enrollment standards and add several new ones that suppliers of durable medical equipment must meet before they can participate in Medicare. All suppliers who provide items, from simple canes and walkers to complex power wheelchairs, oxygen supplies and equipment, now must meet these new standards.
“These standards will reduce Medicare fraud,” said Julie Schoen, Director of California’s SMP project. “In the past, fraudulent DMEPOS suppliers have all too easily registered as a Medicare provider, often not even having a legitimate office with regular hours of operation, and have been able to swindle thousands, even millions, of Medicare dollars,” explained Schoen.
To stop such fraudulent activity from continuing, the new rule requires suppliers to maintain a physical facility on an appropriate site that is publicly accessible, with a permanent sign about the business in plain view, and posted hours of operation. As with any legitimate business, the facility and phone number must be staffed during hours of operation. Suppliers are also prohibited from soliciting Medicare beneficiaries in-person, by phone, email, or instant messaging. Nor are suppliers allowed to use coercive advertising over the Internet.
“We continue our outreach efforts to educate Medicare beneficiaries about these new rules, and encourage them to use only suppliers who have been approved by Medicare,” Schoen declared optimistically.
For more information on the final rule, see: www.cms.gov
SMP educates Medicare beneficiaries to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud. It is supported and funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging. California’s SMP program is sponsored by California Health Advocates, an independent non-profit organization providing quality Medicare and related health care coverage information, education and policy advocacy. California Health Advocates equips community organizations with up-to-date Medicare information, including local Health Insurance and Counseling Programs (HICAP), which provide counseling and community education to Medicare beneficiaries and their families. For more information on CHA and California’s SMP, visitcahealthadvocates.org.
SMP Project Director