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 Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington D.C. Since 1997, more than 35,000 volunteers have helped the SMP Program educate and serve 63 million 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, this results in reduced quality of care and less money for needed benefits. For taxpayers, it results in wasted tax dollars.
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.
Ultimately only you can answer the questions. Working with people is always a challenge. However, the challenge is heightened when people do not understand or believe they have been scammed. Here are examples of the challenges found in each role.
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.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, simply call the Volunteer Coordinator at 888-515-6565888-515-6565 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, driver’s license 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.