Illinois Senior Medicare Patrol at AgeOptions is celebrating 25 years of empowering consumers throughout the state to prevent, detect and report health care fraud. We work with 15 statewide agencies that help carry out our message through outreach and one on one counseling.
The Illinois SMP works with other SMP programs in different states throughout the country to collaborate on many issues and processes. The SMP Network works together and helps each other with questions, trends, and other programatic issues. Marina Silva interviewed 2017 Barbara McGinity Award Winner, Anne Fredrickson, Director of the Ohio SMP over the summer about her work with the Illinois SMP.
Marina Silva (MS): How is working with the Illinois SMP at a National Level?
Anne Fredrickson (AF): I found a place with superior organization – we have been working with AgeOptions for over 18 years. The Illinois SMP has always been a flagship for SMP nationally.
Jason (Echols) and Travis (Trumitch) are amazing to work with. I worked on a lot of different national committees to look at different materials and processes (SIRS, journals, etc.), and there was always a lot of leadership from Illinois. I LOVE to collaborate with Illinois! They always share opportunities and outreach on national calls. The Illinois SMP calls for best practices.
MS: How is SMP important to not only Medicare Beneficiaries but all tax payers?
AF: The SMP Program is critical in saving current and future Medicare dollar. All taxpayers should be involved and know where their tax dollars are going. There is such much fraud going on with Medicare! Imagine what we could do with all the money lost and put back into the program and help our older adults thrive longer!? Education is so powerful and that is why the SMP Program plays an important role in the fraud prevention of Medicare dollars.
How have the Ohio and Illinois SMP programs worked together in the past?
AF: Sharing best practices is the biggest benefit of working in a network is that you can pick up the phone at any time and someone is always willing to share. Sharing information among SMP's is a beautiful asset. For example, Travis shared a project he was working on and shared ideas for other programs to use across the board. Another example is how Jason created a way for SMP to track time that we still use to this day.
MS: Any other thoughts or comments?
AF: Congrats on 25 years! Scammers are always migrating to find the next issues, and you do a great job spreading the word however you can in Illinois. And a huge thank you to our volunteers across the country. We could not do this work without you!
I would like to personally thank Anne and the rest of SMP Programs across the country carrying out the mission of Detect, Protect and Report for the past 25 years. Without the hard work and dedication of our partners, volunteers, coworkers and directors, we would not have nearly the success that we have now.