The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program was implemented in 1997 to help Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries avoid, detect, and prevent health care fraud. By empowering our “elders” to protect themselves it preserves the integrity of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Because this work often requires face-to-face contact to be effective the SMP project often recruits and teaches retirees and Medicare beneficiaries as volunteers to assist their peers.
The SMP staff and their highly trained volunteers educate Medicare beneficiaries in the communities through group presentations, exhibiting at community events, answering calls to the SMP help lines and one-on-one counseling. Their primary goal is to teach Medicare beneficiaries how to protect their personal identity, identify and report errors on their health care bills and identify deceptive health care practices, such as illegal marketing, providing unnecessary or inappropriate services and charging for services that were never provided. SMP’s are funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA). They receive technical assistance from the National Consumer Protection Technical Resource Center.