With over 400 volunteers statewide, California’s Senior Medicare Patrol project is a strong and growing force throughout the state, actively reducing fraud and helping Medicare recover from the effects of fraud, including lost funds. For fiscal year 2012, California’s SMP helped Medicare reclaim over $1.6 million. This growing success is due to a number of factors, including having doubled our volunteer base from 200 to 403 active volunteers. These volunteers spread the word on fraud detection and prevention through one-on-one counseling and group presentations to seniors and providers in urban and rural areas. Some volunteers also take on a significant amount of case work, including complex cases with a large amount of client follow-up. In saying “active volunteers” above, we mean “active” as they have participated in 707 hours of volunteer training and have logged in over 7,044 hours of volunteer time in 2012.
In addition, our outreach, education and media efforts continue to expand, all of which contribute to this year’s successful recovery of Medicare funds. In 2012, our SMP has reached over 56,000 people at our outreach events, and over 36,000 people at our community education presentations. Also, California’s SMP has created a partnership with the California chapter of the American Association of Service Coordinators (AASC) after speaking at both their national and regional conferences. Our first two mailings to AASC’s 300 California members yielded over 90 requests for group education sessions throughout the state. All AASC members are also coordinators for low income housing units, often housing non-English speaking underserved populations. This connection along with other outreach efforts has helped us expand our education and outreach to Spanish, Hmong, Chinese, and Vietnamese speaking populations as well. Our outreach success, in addition to our publicizing our SMP helpline (855-613-7080), is correlated with an increase in fraud reports and complex cases (404 reports and 164 complex cases).
In 2012, our SMP also completed a successful “Stop Medicare Fraud” public service announcement campaign with the Administration on Aging. Using both radio and TV PSAs, we had at least 2,031 radio broadcasts reaching over 3 million people, and 7,357 TV broadcasts reaching over 57 million people. These PSAs (in English and Spanish) can be downloaded from our website.
In sum, 2012 has been a successful year for educating people on fraud and empowering individuals and communities around the state to play an active part in stopping and preventing fraud.