Empowering Seniors To Prevent Healthcare Fraud



The SMP program gives volunteers an opportunity to make a difference. Volunteers take pride in working to ensure that the Medicare program will be protected for future generations. In 2020, the SMP projects managed a total of 5,720 active team members who had 249,134 individual interactions with, or on behalf of, a Medicare beneficiary. In addition, the SMP projects conducted 9,870 group outreach and education events, reaching an estimated 425,103 people.

When Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke to SMPs at the August 2011 national SMP conference, she had this to say about the value of SMP volunteers:

“…We know that one of the most effective and direct steps we can take to improve Medicare’s long-term health is ridding the program of waste, fraud, and abuse. And for the last 14 years, the Senior Medicare Patrol has been on the front lines of that fight. No one feels more strongly about keeping criminals out of Medicare than seniors themselves. When someone defrauds Medicare, it means higher premiums and co-pays for beneficiaries. It also threatens the program that they have worked so hard for – and that they want to make sure is there for their children and grandchildren.”

The SMP program relies heavily on volunteers to accomplish its mission. Because the work is important, the SMP takes seriously its responsibility to carefully select and place volunteers in positions that match up well with their background, skills, and interests and with the needs of the Wyoming program. As a result, SMP volunteers may serve Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers in many creative ways. However, the six most common activities engaged in by SMP volunteers nationwide are:

  1. Assist with administration: Help with work such as copying, filing, data entry, and placing outbound phone calls in support of SMP activity
  2. Distribute information: Help with transporting and disseminating SMP information materials to sites and events; may include presenting prepared copy or performing scripted activities for small groups
  3. Staff exhibits: Help by staffing information kiosks or exhibits at events such as health fairs; also may provide general information about SMP to the public and answer basic questions
  4. Make group presentations: Help by giving presentations on SMP topics to small and large groups; may interact with the audience by answering questions and through discussion
  5. Counsel: Help by having direct conversations with beneficiaries about their individual situations; may include review of personal information such as Medicare Summary Notices, billing statements, and other related financial and health documents
  6. Manage complex interactions: Help with in-depth interactions with beneficiaries who are reporting specific instances of health care fraud, errors, and abuse; may act on behalf of a beneficiary to correct an error or refer suspected fraud and abuse to the appropriate authorities.

The program has high standards for its paid staff and volunteers alike. We expect all team members to provide timely and helpful information and to answer questions accurately and objectively. To facilitate that, the SMP provides thorough training and supervision for all team members. They receive orientation and training to enable them to carry out the tasks of their respective positions. Those whose role requires direct contact with Medicare beneficiaries through presentations and counseling receive screening and intensive subject matter and skills training.

Beyond training, SMP volunteers can expect their designated supervisor to provide ongoing support that includes answering questions, providing constructive feedback and direction, and checking in. Supervisors in the SMP program are trained to give support that relies on positive, constructive, and success-oriented guidance to volunteers as they work to fulfill the SMP program’s mission. They want the volunteers to have a positive and productive volunteer experience.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about volunteering for the Wyoming SMP. Just give us a call in Riverton at 1 800 856-4398 or email Sandy at smpmgr@wyoming.com.

If you would like to . . .

  • schedule a presentation
  • receive SMP publications
  • become a volunteer, or
  • get help with potential Medicare fraud, abuse, or error,

call 800 856-4398, email smpmgr@wyoming.com, or stop by one of our offices. Let's talk!