Senior Medicare Patrol Educates Miami Seniors about Medicare Fraud By Tod Aronovitz | 02/06/14 | 0 Comment

PROTECT. DETECT. REPORT.  The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) carries this motto with them when they are teaching seniors and their caregivers about Medicare and how to spot and guard against fraud, waste and abuse.

Funded through the Older Americans Act, this national organization of highly-trained volunteers formed in 1995 to get the public involved in the fight against Medicare fraud.  The SMP eventually spread to five states, including Florida as a result of its large retirement-aged population and its elevated fraud rates.

According to a January 25 article in the Miami Herald, there are more than 3 million Medicare beneficiaries in Florida, and the estimated cost of fraud to taxpayers in the state is $3 billion to $4 billion a year.

Although SMP volunteers are not necessarily seniors—many are professionals such as doctors, nurses, accountants, investigators, law enforcement personnel, attorneys and teachers—the state’s SMP manager, Makeba Huntington-Symons, believes seniors are paramount to getting the message out because they are stakeholders in the Medicare program and they understand the audience, the Miami-Herald article reported.

Florida has 138 SMP volunteers in the state.  There are 12 in Miami-Dade and also 12 in Broward.  Last year, they logged almost 3,100 volunteer hours and reached 62,816 people.  One volunteer reported in the article that there were 788 calls to the group’s hotline that could be attributed to just one of their presentations.

Although their message may be direct, the goal of creating a more educated health consumer is now being achieved around Miami, an area regarded as a hotbed of Medicare fraud. The volunteers can be found doing presentations at health fairs, senior centers and assisted living facilities—basically any place seniors or caregivers gather.

For more information about Florida’s SMP program or to find out about volunteer opportunities, visit the Area Agency on Aging.

How to Report Miami Medicare Fraud

Healthcare or medical billing employees who have inside knowledge of questionable Medicare billing practices can file a confidential legal claim under the False Claims Act. By acting as a “whistleblower” in what is known as a “qui tam” lawsuit, a private party may collect between 10 to 30 percent of the amount recovered, depending on how the case is prosecuted.

ARONOVITZ LAW: Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam Law Firm

The Miami Qui Tam law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW routinely works with Miami whistleblowers to document Medicare fraud and other forms of fraud against the government. Contact Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam lawyer Tod Aronovitz to discuss a case.