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The Administration on Aging Awards $9.4 Million for Senior Medicare Patrol Projects

Assistant Secretary for Aging Josefina G. Carbonell today awarded $9.4 million to fund fifty-seven Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) projects. These projects train retired professional volunteers to help their peers become better health care consumers.

Volunteers work to educate older Americans about the importance of reviewing their Medicare notices to identify billing errors as well as potentially fraudulent activity. Program volunteers also encourage seniors to make inquiries to the SMP project when such issues are identified, so that the project may ensure appropriate resolution or referral.

“Senior Medicare Patrol projects provide products and services to our seniors that promote understanding of Medicare and Medicaid program benefits,” said Assistant Secretary Carbonell. “Through this program beneficiaries increased their knowledge of the new prescription drug and other benefits that empowers them to make sound health care decisions.”

The SMP program plays a unique role in providing direct and widespread education to reduce erroneous and wasteful Medicare and Medicaid spending. The project plays an important role in helping elderly people protect both their own and Federal health care resources, which in turn help them remain independent in the community.

AoA provides these grants to states, territories, other jurisdictions and community-based non-profit organizations. Each project is designed to focus on providing program services to seniors who are homebound, rural, non–English speaking or otherwise underserved.

According to the most recent SMP Program performance report issued May 2, 2006, by the HHS Office of Inspector General, over 10,000 new volunteers were trained during 2005, who in turn educated over 483,000 beneficiaries through either group or one-on-one counseling sessions. As a result of this training, the SMP Projects resolved or referred almost 28,000 complaints regarding Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care issues. Since 1997, over $104 million in savings, including Medicare and Medicaid funds recovered, beneficiary and other savings have been attributed to the program as a result of documented complaints.

Twenty eight new grants have been awarded to:

  • Alabama Department of Senior Services
  • California Health Advocates Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, Pennsylvania
  • Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups, Wisconsin
  • Community of Vermont Elders
  • Connecticut Department of Social Services
  • District III Area Agency on Aging, Missouri
  • East River Legal Services Corporation, South Dakota
  • Executive Office on Aging, Hawaii
  • Department of Public Health and Social Services, Guam
  • Indianapolis Association of Area Agencies on Aging Education, Indiana
  • Iowa Department of Elder Affairs
  • Maryland Department of Aging
  • Minnesota Board on Aging
  • Minot State University, North Dakota
  • Mississippi Department of Human Resources
  • Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services
  • New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services
  • Nevada Office of the Attorney General
  • New York State Office for the Aging
  • North Carolina State Department of Insurance
  • Rhode Island Department of Elderly Affairs
  • South Carolina Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging
  • Suburban Area Agency on Aging, Illinois
  • Utah Legal Services, Inc.
  • Vernon Parish Council on Aging, Inc., Louisiana
  • Virgin Islands Department of Human Services
  • Wyoming Senior Citizens, Inc

 

Twenty nine Senior Medicare Patrol Project Continuation awards are as follows:

  • Alaska DHSS/Division of Senior & Disabilities Services
  • Arkansas Department of Human Services
  • Arizona State Department of Economic Security
  • Colorado State Division of Insurance
  • Friendship House Association, Inc., Washington, DC
  • Legal Counsel for the Elderly, Washington, DC
  • Delaware Department of Health and Social Services
  • Area Agency on Aging Association of Pasco-Pinellas, Inc., Florida
  • Atlanta Regional Commission, Georgia
  • Georgia Department of Human Resources
  • Idaho Commission on Aging
  • Kansas Department on Aging
  • Kentucky Association of Senior Service Corps Programs
  • Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley Inc., Massachusetts
  • Maine Department of Health & Human Services
  • Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan
  • Missoula Area Agency on Aging, Montana
  • Jewish Family & Vocational Services Middlesex County, New Jersey
  • New Mexico State Aging & Long Term Services Department
  • Oklahoma State Department of Insurance
  • Oregon Department of Human Services
  • Pro Seniors, Incorporated, Ohio
  • Puerto Rico Governor’s Office for the Elderly
  • Upper Cumberland Development District, Tennessee
  • Better Business Bureau Education Foundation, Houston, Texas
  • National Hispanic Council on Aging, Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging
  • Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner
  • AARP Foundation, West Virginia

For more information on the Senior Medicare Patrol program, please visit the AoA Website at http://www.aoa.gov/smp or at www.smpresource.org.