Empower and assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report healthcare fraud, errors, and abuse through outreach, counseling, and education.
What is the SMP program? The SMP program, also known as Senior Medicare Patrol program, helps Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries prevent, detect, and report health care fraud. In doing so, they help protect older persons and promote integrity in the Medicare program. Because this work often requires face-to-face contact to be most effective, SMPs have recruited nearly 4,500 volunteers nationwide to support this effort. SMP volunteers serve in many ways, including outreach, education, and one-on-one counseling. Most are Medicare beneficiaries themselves and are thus well-positioned to assist their peers.
What do SMPs do? SMP staff, including paid staff and volunteers, conduct outreach to Medicare beneficiaries in their communities through group presentations, exhibiting at community events, answering calls to the SMP help lines and meeting individually with clients. Their main 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.
In some cases, SMPs do more than educate. When Medicare beneficiaries cannot act on their own behalf to address these problems, the SMPs work with family caregivers and others to address the problems, and if necessary, make referrals to outside organizations that can intervene.