How to Volunteer

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QUESTIONS
Why become a Missouri SMP volunteer?
Will my efforts make a difference?
What do I need to know?
Will I get any training?
What would I be doing?
What support will I have to do the work?
Will I be challenged?
Will I find the work interesting?
Will I find the work rewarding?

INTRODUCTION

Hello, I am the Volunteer Coordinator for the Missouri SMP Program. I suspect you have many of the questions above, plus others. I will try to answer many of the questions here. If I don’t answer a question that is important to you, please go to the staff directory and click on Volunteer Coordinator and send me a message or give me a call at 888-515-6565.

BACKGROUND
Why become a Missouri SMP volunteer?
Will my efforts make a difference?

The SMP project was started by U.S. Congress in 1997. The Missouri SMP program was one of the twelve initial demonstration projects in 1997. Today, there is an SMP program in all 50 states, as well, as Guam, Puerto Rice, U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington D.C. Since 1997, over 35,000 volunteers have helped the SMP Program educate and serve 63 million people. In 2012, Missouri SMP volunteers educated over 23,000 people.

The SMP program provides an opportunity for volunteers to make an impact in the fight against fraud. It is estimated that the Medicare program loses $6.8 million per hour as a result of fraud, errors, and abuse. For Medicare beneficiaries, it results in reduced quality of care and less money for needed benefits. For taxpayers, it results in wasted tax dollars.

THE WORK
What would I be doing?
What support will I have to do the work?

The primary focus of Missouri SMP volunteers is to educate Medicare beneficiaries. Volunteers educate by having one on one discussions to assist, or by distributing literature at exhibits during senior fairs, expos or conferences, or by making presentations at local clubs, groups or meetings.

Typically, volunteers perform their work within their community. Many volunteers perform more than one role.

The volunteer section of the Missouri SMP website contains several items to support each of the roles, such as role guidance, literature ordering, class schedules, resource links, presentations with speaker notes, and, the volunteer handbook. Within each area agency on aging, there is a Missouri SMP Regional Coordinator for local supervision and support of the volunteer team.

THE DECISION
Will I be challenged?
Will I find the work interesting?
Will I find the work rewarding?

I will attempt to give you some insights to the answers, but ultimately only you can answer the questions. Working with people is always a challenge. However, the challenge is heightened when the person does not understand or believes they have been scammed. Here are examples of the challenges found in each role.

  • During counseling, listening patiently to understand what the beneficiary’s issue is and then being able to satisfactorily restate the issue.
  • When staffing an exhibit, keeping their attention long enough to provide the information.
  • When making a presentation, being able to manage the audience and attending to their questions.

Becoming a Missouri SMP volunteer is an opportunity to learn more about Medicare and share with others. The reward is often very clear.  It is in the look of the beneficiary’s smile and the sound of a heartfelt thank you.

BECOMING A VOLUNTEER
What do I need to know?
Will I get any training?

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, simply call the Volunteer Coordinator at 888-515-6565 for an initial interview. After the interview, you will be mailed a package that consists of information and the application forms. Once the application forms are returned, a national criminal background, drivers, and reference check will be performed. There will be a two day training to prepare you for the roles. The training covers the SMP program, Medicare basics, and Medicare fraud and abuse. When all items of the screening process and training are complete, you will receive an acceptance letter along with your Missouri SMP Badge.

If you are interested in volunteering call the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) at 1-888-515-6565 to learn how you can help fight Medicare Fraud.

This website was supported in part by a grant No. 90-SP-0025 from the Administration on Aging (AoA), Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Grantees carrying out projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Therefore, points of view or opinions do not necessarily represent official AoA, ACL, or DHHS policy.