Maine is receiving nearly $90,000 in federal funds to help combat Medicare fraud.
The $88,750 grant is part of $9 million awarded nationally by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to aid seniors in protecting themselves against health care fraud, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Maine’s Office of Elder Services, as one of 52 “Senior Medicare Patrol” programs across the country, will use the grant to boost awareness among Medicare beneficiaries about how to avoid, identify and report instances of fraud. The program’s volunteers have educated more than 4 million seniors nationally about reviewing their Medicare notices to spot errors and red flags.
Operated by the Administration on Aging, the SMP program is expanding in the wake of Affordable Care Act provisions targeting Medicare fraud. The act provides an additional $350 million over the next 10 years to combat abuse in the system, imposes stricter sentencing for criminal activities and targets recovery of overpayments. In fiscal year 2010, more than $4 billion was returned to the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund and others as a result of enforcement of false claims and fraud in government health care programs.