Senior Medicare Patrol
Since 1997 AoA has funded Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) projects to recruit and train retired professionals and other senior citizens how to recognize and report instances or patterns of health care fraud. For more information, go to http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/AoA_Programs/Elder_Rights/SMP/index.aspx.
Joanna T. Gibson - "Contested Her Own Bill and Won"
Joanna became a volunteer in 2006 because she was confused about the Medicare process, although she taught herself enough to contest her own bill and win. Since volunteering with SMP, she has won seven appeals.
As a volunteer, Joanna conducts one-on-one counseling at health fairs, researches issues, and trains volunteers. She has been lead volunteer at three one-on-one sites in three counties. She is an avid SMP team member, never missing a meeting or training session.
Romolo Pellacani, Guam - "The First Joint Volunteer"
"Mo" became the first joint volunteer, working on both SMP and Guam's SHIP program. His volunteerism ranges from making phone calls to beneficiaries to educating them on the importance of reviewing their Medicare Summary Notices and Explanations of Benefits. His most valuable contribution is translating the information into the Chamorro language for Guam's indigenous population.
Charles Clark, Hawaii - "Passionate about Fighting Medicare Fraud"
Charles will drive or fly anywhere in the state to give SMP presentations. Inspired by his passion for fighting Medicare fraud, Remington College asked him to give presentations to students every quarter. Many of the students come from low-income families with limited English proficiency. His contributions significantly help the SMP program reach hard-to-reach populations.
Charles also founded Radiated Veterans of America. In 2005, as a member of the Oahu Veterans Council, he helped secure barracks to house homeless veterans. He was instrumental in having money won in a government settlement used to rehabilitate the residence for both men and women.
Dick Hilton, Maine – “Provided Thousands of Counseling Sessions”
In the past five years, Dick has served 1,340 clients in over 7,945 counseling sessions, both in the office and in the home. An excellent public speaker, Dick uses public forums every chance he can to talk about the SMP program. His favorite outcome is hugs and kisses from clients when they actually understand their options and how to protect their benefits from fraudulent practices. Dick also delivers meals to homebound seniors.
Man Ping Zhou, California – “Loves a Good Challenge and Does Not Give Up"
Ms. Zhou was born in Shanghai, China, where she taught metallurgy at the Science and Technology University. She immigrated to Canada in 1990 and to the U.S. in 2000, settling in Irvine, California. Almost immediately she sought out volunteer opportunities. Trained as a SHIP/HICAP Counselor, she learned about the SMP program.
She was especially interested in helping those whose primary language was not English. Her expertise has benefited the entire state of California by making fraud sheets available in Chinese. She also gives regular presentations, works at health fairs and provides one-on-one counseling. When she finds a situation that looks suspicious, she follows it all the way to the end.
Dottie Beauregard, Maryland – “Understands the Complexities of Medicare”
As a volunteer with the Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) since 1993 it was a natural fit for Dottie to expand her volunteer service to the SMP program. Dottie has donated over 1,700 hours of service to the SMP program. She goes above and beyond her “working hours” and has been known to call clients once she has left the office to resolve an issue. She has even handled complex cases while en route to her vacation!
Ruth Candeub Avins, New Jersey – “Gainfully Employed as a Volunteer”
Ruth was one of the first volunteers of the SMP of New Jersey. For seven years
she has been reaching out to seniors and for the last three years she has been assistant coordinator of the program. In that capacity, Ruth is a member of the SMP’s advisory committee and assists in training new volunteers. She also makes numerous presentations to senior groups, as well as through one-on-one counseling sessions. She also spends much of her time in marketing the SMP program to senior facilities and senior groups throughout the state. As a volunteer, Ruth is rewarded by more than a feeling of satisfaction – a lifting of the spirit for a senior citizen who is doing something that really counts. MP
Terri Ivers, Pennyslvania – “A Strong Advocate for Older Adults”
Since her retirement, Terri has served in a number of positions in the community, including as the AARP coordinator for Bucks County, Pennsylvania, assisting in a hospital cancer clinic and working in an intergenerational program school program. She began her SMP volunteer service in 1999 and has since educated thousands of beneficiaries on fraud and abuse prevention. Terri consistently educates herself on emerging issues in the health care field and finds new ways to make her presentations lively and pertinent to her audiences. She is extremely personable and conveys her knowledge in a warm and conversational manner. Terri is also on the project’s advisory committee.
Marisabel Simson, Texas – “Committed to Serving the Hispanic Population”
Marisabel has been volunteering with the SMP project for 6 years and is a dependable and dedicated volunteer. A native of Panama, Marisabel has lived in Houston for 30 years. After seeing an article about the SMP program in a local newspaper, she called to volunteer as a Spanish language translator. She understands the culture and puts people at ease with her warmth and sense of humor. Besides her commitment to the SMP program, Marisabel serves on a hospital Art Cart committee which supplies art work of the patients’ choosing to decorate their hospital rooms, coordinates their annual photography show and translates for the hospital’s International Patient
Betty Stambolian, Vermont – “Remarkable Tenacity and Independence”
Since 2004, Betty has committed her time and skills to Vermont where she assists with materials development, outreach projects and mailings. She was a key member of the project start-up and participated on the Volunteer Program Development Committee. She participated in the development and filming of Vermont SMP public service announcements and the Savvy Seniors DVD filmed in 2007. Betty offered nearly 200 hours in 2008 to SMP and continues to extend her services as needed today. Her background and skills as an English teacher and program developer/manager helped SMP produce powerful and effective projects.
At 88, Betty exhibits remarkable tenacity and independence. She participates in a senior dance troupe, averaging over 50 performances yearly and serves on numerous senior service boards and political campaigns, speaking out on economic and social justice issues, gender equity and human rights.
All the above received awards for volunteering at the 2009 SMP Conference