01 Aug Home Health Care & Hospice Fraud
Dr. Sherry McCoy PhD
is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. Follow SSSAP on Facebook . For more info re: SSSAP, contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Home Health Care & Hospice Fraud”
Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD – Stop Senior Scams ℠Acting Program
Here we are in August of 2018! We’re half way through the summer and fall is just around the corner. But regardless of the time of year, scammers are always out in full force, working hard to separate us from our hard-earned cash and savings. Life in the 21st Century demands that we be vigilant and educate ourselves about fraud in all its various manifestations – which, sadly, run the gamut from A-Z. Today, let’s take a look at home health care and hospice fraud, and learn what we can do to steer clear of these fraudulent schemes.
“Hospice care is provided under Medicare Part A for persons whose doctor has certified that they are terminally ill and expected to live six months or less, if the disease runs its normal course.”¹ Unfortunately, hospice care fraud schemes are on the rise. Medicare beneficiaries who do not meet the criteria for hospice care are being enrolled illegally. For example, some unscrupulous doctors may certify that a patient is terminally ill when she/he is not or inflate the level of care beyond what is truly needed, e.g., falsely document that a Medicare beneficiary needs a higher level of care in order to receive a higher reimbursement rate.¹
Scammers do their dirty work by offering beneficiaries “free services” allegedly covered by Medicare. Nothing could be further from the truth! Here are just a few of the ways fraudsters reportedly try to lure Medicare beneficiaries into their criminal game plans:
— By offering Medicare beneficiaries in-home help with cooking and cleaning services.
— By offering Medicare beneficiaries “free milk” for one year.
— By offering Medicare beneficiaries a “free hospice trial period.”
Scammers may call you on the phone or make unsolicited house calls in attempt to convince you to sign up for these so-called “free Medicare benefits.” They may also show up at your church or some other social gathering where seniors congregate. All you have to do, they say, is give them your Medicare card number and sign on the dotted line – and they’ll take care of everything else. Don’t believe it! It’s a lie. Remember –The new Medicare Cards are being mailed out as of April this year. Please destroy your old card. The new card will not have your social security number on it. And, there is no charge for your new card. Guard your Medicare card number as if it were gold! Just Hang Up!
If you have questions about Medicare fraud / abuse, or believe you have been the victim of Medicare fraud contact the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP*) at 1-855-613-7080. If you feel you have been the target or victim of a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1. And then — Pass It On! Contact the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office online at http://da.lacounty.gov// or phone (213) 974-3512.
Remember: You may be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim!
*Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD, is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams ℠Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles.
Save the Dates – SSSAP performs (free): Joslyn Adult Center, 1301 West Olive Ave., Burbank, CA 91506, 8/6/18, Noon-2pm; and, Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library, 2920 Overland, Ave., LA, CA 90064, 8/15/18, 4:15-5:30pm. We are looking for seniors to participate in our SSSAP volunteer touring company, which was recently recognized by the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging. For more information, please contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Follow SSSAP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SSSAP2016/?fref=ts. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or email@example.com.