July 16, 2024
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Medicare Fraud—We All Pay

Jewish Family Services of Middlesex County, located in Milltown, New Jersey (JFS) has a unique program: Senior Medicare Patrol of New Jersey (SMP). It is Medicare’s best-kept secret. JFS has been the recipient of a grant from the US Administration for Community Living for the last 15 years to assist Medicare beneficiaries in the fight against Medicare fraud, waste and abuse. Fraud costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year. Conservative estimates say that $60 billion is lost each year. Now, with the national debate on health care reform, stopping fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare has taken center stage.

Since 2001, JFS, through its SMP program, has sought to educate seniors on how to combat fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid. Every state, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands has a Senior Medicare Patrol program. JFS is proud that we have been the grantee of this extraordinary program for so many years. JFS has recently been awarded a new SMP grant that will continue through May, 2018.

JFS, through its SMP program, accomplishes its mission through its outreach efforts by speaking to seniors groups throughout New Jersey and through community events, such as senior fairs and health fairs. Every year, JFS reaches out to over 20,000 seniors through these events. Many thousands more are reached through media campaigns on radio, television and cable. JFS wants to reach out to members of every Jewish synagogue, club or other senior group in New Jersey who wishes to be a better healthcare consumer and assist in the fight to stop Medicare fraud, waste and abuse. Presentations can be scheduled throughout New Jersey. If you belong to a senior group that may be interested in a free presentation, please call JFS/Senior Medicare Patrol of New Jersey at 732-777-1940.

Every citizen has a stake in Medicare. For Medicare to be a viable program in the coming years, the fight against fraud, waste and abuse must be given the highest priority. Here are a few of the steps that can be taken by a Medicare beneficiary to help fight fraud, waste and abuse and to ensure that he or she does not fall victim to dishonest practices and scams:

Be Aware

  • Never give your Medicare/Medicaid number to strangers.
  • Never give your Medicare/Medicaid number to anyone offering a “free” service.
  • Never accept medical supplies or equipment from a door-to-door salesperson.
  • Never provide information to someone on the telephone claiming to be from Medicare. Medicare does not call beneficiaries unless you call them first.
  • Never keep mail in your mailbox for more than one day. People can steal your personal information right from your mailbox.
  • Always review your Medicare Summary Notice—most healthcare fraud involves billing for services not provided and double billing.
  • Always shred your Medicare, healthcare and other important documents before throwing them away.
  • Always keep a calendar of your doctors’ visits and medical tests. Compare your calendar to your Medicare Summary Notices. Make sure you are not being cheated.
  • Always count your pills after you have picked up your prescription. If you are short pilled, complain to your pharmacist
  • Always report possible fraud. IF YOU IDENTIFY OR SUSPECT FRAUD, WASTE OR ABUSE, CALL JFS/ SMP OF NEW JERSEY AT 732-777-1940.

Be Involved

Volunteers are critical to the success of the SMP. Since 1993, billions of dollars in health care savings have been realized due to government and volunteer efforts. Volunteers can help make a difference in their communities by actively participating in the SMP program. Volunteer activities include:

  • • educating the public by giving presentations to groups;
  • • providing consumer counseling, and when necessary, serving as a consumer advocate to resolve billing disputes and errors;
  • • developing and disseminating consumer educational materials about Medicare and Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse through presentations, health fairs and press events;
  • • helping beneficiaries review their Medicare Summary Notices;
  • • training others to educate Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries about fraud, waste and abuse.

By Charles Clarkson, Esq.,
Project Director, Jewish Family Services of Middlesex County/
Senior Medicare Patrol of New Jersey (SMP)

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