In the wake of a spike in attempted phone scams on
Currently there are just 28 SMP volunteers in Virginia, according to Nancy Siford, volunteer coordinator and trainer for the state. She has scheduled two all-day training sessions for new volunteers on the Peninsula in February. Typically, Siford draws participants from area seniors, but anyone who has a background in teaching, public relations or community outreach is eligible to apply. The training teaches volunteers about the Medicare program and about the different contexts in which fraud takes place.
On the Peninsula, volunteers can participate in the SMP program in three ways: As community advocates, they distribute information in the community; as community educators they make presentations to selected groups in the community; and as community coordinators they identify and coordinate appropriate groups for information distribution and educational presentations.
The program is funded through the Administration on Aging and partners with local agencies, such as the
After the training, volunteers are asked to commit to helping at four events a year, which might include a training event, outreach at a church or civic meeting, or managing an exhibit and answering questions at an event, said Siford.
Medicare dos and don'ts:
• Do add your name to the Do Not Call Registry, advised Lisa Walker, Medicare counselor for the region's agencies on aging. There are two ways to register: by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you wish to register, or going to http://www.donotcall.gov.
• Don't give out your Medicare number except to your doctor or other Medicare provider;
• Don't accept "free" medical or other services in exchange for your Medicare or Social Security number;
• Don't give your Medicare number to telephone callers or door-to-door solicitors (Medicare does not call or go door-to-door)
To report suspected fraud, whether individual or institutional, call 1-800-938-8885.