California Health Advocates Press Release

California SMP Celebrates Record Recovery in Fraudulent Medicare Claims

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February 17, 2012

Santa Ana, CA —California’s Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program is celebrating a major victory in the federal government recovering nearly $4.1 billion dollars in fraudulent Medicare claims for fiscal year 2011. SMP programs contributed to this victory by working with multiple agencies to eliminate fraud. The funds were recovered from individuals and companies who attempted to defraud seniors or seek payment for services never delivered.

“Our California SMP program recruits and trains volunteers to educate their peers and communities to detect and report health care fraud and abuse and to help beneficiaries correct billing errors,” says Julie Schoen, California’s SMP Project Director. “California has been a ‘hot spot’ for fraud and we are changing that with a stellar team of over 450 SMP volunteers that serve in the front line of defense in their local communities.”

The record recovery reflects the success of President Obama making the elimination of fraud, waste and abuse a top priority in his Administration. This priority is demonstrated in the new tools and resources provided by the Affordable Care Act, where multiple agencies such as the Department of Justice, the Office of Inspector General, the Health and Human Services Department, are effectively working together with law enforcement agencies and local SMP programs to eliminate fraud.

For more information on the fraud prevention accomplishments under the Affordable Care Act see New Tools to Fight Fraud, Strengthen Federal Health Programs, and Protect Taxpayer Dollars at healthcare.gov. Also visit our California SMP program’s webpage and our Medicare fraud section for more information and examples of fraud.

The California SMP program was awarded to California Health Advocates in 1997 when the SMP program was first established by federal law in 1997. California Health Advocates is an independent non-profit organization that provides quality Medicare and related health care coverage information, education and policy advocacy. SMP volunteers are available in each county through the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP), which provides benefits counseling and community education directly to those with Medicare and their families. For more information, visit its website at cahealthadvocates.org.

Contact:

Julie Schoen
SMP Project Director
(714) 560-0309

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