In Miami, and across the country senior citizens are assisting federal agents in investigating Medicare fraud. The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is another pitfall beset on those involved in Miami Medicare fraud. As if the recent news of a U.S. senator initiating a Medicare investigation against a Miami doctor was not problematic enough, senior citizens are reporting fraudulent activities to local, state and federal law enforcement authorities. Miami Medicare fraud defense lawyers are certainly keeping busy these days. The stepped up efforts of the SMP will definitely add to the number of arrests and indictments in federal court. The very people that clinic owners, doctors and nurses are using to pad their bills to Medicare are fighting back.
Recently, a senior citizen received a box filled with braces and a motorized scooter paid for by the federal Medicare program to assist her with her serious case of arthritis. She became alarmed because she had previously been provided the same equipment by Medicare. The elderly woman reported the incident to the SMP which then conducted its own independent investigation into the matter. Once the SMP completed the investigation, they provided the evidence of fraud to federal prosecutors who then secured indictments against the perpetrators. The SMP's involvement in Medicare investigations have led to several successful prosecutions. One of the reasons the SMP is so successful is that most people including fraudsters are unaware that the group exists.
There are approximately 4,700 volunteers who participate in the SMP. The group is responsible for several dozen arrests and is credited with saving the Medicare program in excess of $100 million since the group's inception. The group operates in part by attending senior citizen centers and retirement communities to educate the elderly in latest Medicare scams and to emphasize guarding their personal information and checking their monthly statements to ensure that their accounts are not being billed for treatment or equipment they did not receive. The SMP also operates call centers to receive complaints from senior citizens who believe their accounts have been fraudulently billed.
With the recent string of Miami Medicare fraud arrests, the SMP will certainly step up their efforts in South Florida. The SMP has been relentless when they get involved in investigating clinics. They continue to gather information against healthcare providers until the FBI and other federal investigators have enough evidence to build a case. The more investigations the SMP conducts, the more familiar they become with the different types of schemes to defraud. For all those who choose to make their living committing Medicare fraud, beware, they should be aware that their own patients may turn them in to the authorities.
Little-Known Team of Seniors Helps Uncover Medicare Fraud, The Miami Herald, January 1, 2010.