Friday, December 19, 2014
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In This Issue
Fraud in the News
Hospice Fraud: Taking Advantage of People at the End of Life
New Year's Resolution: No More Medical Debt!
CMS Announces Rules to Prevent Fraud
Thank You SMP Volunteers for a Great 2014
Fraud in the News
The following are current news articles about health care and fraud issues.


 Health Care Fraud:

Consumer Fraud: 


2. "How Do Scammers in Your Community Connect with You?" (FTC)


3. "Fa La La or Fraud? Sneakiest Holiday Scams" (AARP)


4. "'Pass It On' at the Holidays" (FTC)


5. "Package Delivery Scam - Delivered to your Inbox" (FTC)


6. "Funding Your Holiday Fun" (National Consumer Protection Week)

Please share this Fraud Alert with colleagues, consumers, or other professionals in your area. If you have any questions about the Illinois SMP program, or to receive these Fraud Alerts directly, please contact Jason Echols, Healthcare Consumer Protection Coordinator at AgeOptions.


This document was supported in part by a grant (No. 90MP0163 & 90SP0061) from the Administration on Aging (AoA), Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Grantees carrying out projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Therefore, points of view or opinions do not necessarily represent official AoA, ACL, or DHHS policy. 


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Dear SMP Readers, 


This week's Fraud Alert contains an article about hospice fraud, tips for dealing with medical debt, new fraud prevention tools for CMS, and a thank you message to our Illinois SMP volunteers.


Have a great weekend!

Hospice Fraud: Taking Advantage of People at the End of Life


Jason Echols, who coordinates the Illinois SMP program, was recently interviewed for an article on hospice fraud in The Sentinel, the National SMP Resource Center's newsletter. You can read the article by clicking on the following link: "Hospice Fraud Takes Advantage of People at the End of Life."

The Medicare hospice benefit can provide a valuable service to people at the end of life and to their families, but it is very difficult to spot hospice fraud because families are usually grieving the loss of a loved one. Many of the hospice fraud reports that SMP has received begin with quality of care concerns. You always have the right to ask questions about the care you or your loved ones are receiving. Also, always work with your trusted doctor to talk about hospice, what it is, and if it is right for you.

If you suspect hospice fraud, please call the Illinois SMP at AgeOptions at (800)699-9043. 
New Year's Resolution: No More Medical Debt!


Getting out of debt is a common new year's resolution, and much of this debt is from medical services. If you have medical debt, you are not alone. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an estimated 43 million people with an account in collection have medical debt

So what can you do if you medical debt? The CFPB just released a report on medical debt and has released a summary consumer advisory on the "7 Ways to Keep Medical Debt in Check" (click on the tile to link to the article). 

Know your rights and try to prevent medical debt from occuring or from going to collections. If you are on Medicare, read your Medicare Summary Notice or Explanation of Benefits to ensure that the bills you are receiving are for what you actually owe. If not, take immeadiate action to address the error with your provider.

Read more about what you can do if you have debt collection issues in our December 5, 2014 Fraud Alert issue. 
CMS Announces Rules to Prevent Fraud


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have finalized new Medicare provider rules that will help prevent health care fraud. The new rules provide CMS with tools and the power to prevent certain providers from reenrolling in the Medicare program or to take action on enrolled providers who routinely bill improperly. These rules give CMS greater ability to address providers who pose a risk of fraud. You can read a summary of these rules by clicking on this link to the CMS Fact Sheet.
Thank You SMP Volunteers for a Great 2014


As we come to the end of another year, the Illinois SMP staff would like to thank our volunteers for all of their hard work, creative ideas, spirit, and service this year. So far in 2014, volunteers across the state have dedicated over 1,000 hours to the goal of empowering people on Medicare to prevent health care fraud. Our volunteers are our most valuable asset, and we applaud their dedication to stopping fraud.

To our Fraud Alert readers, thank you too for another great year. You will hear from us again in 2015!

AgeOptions Ideogram


Jason B. Echols, MSW,
Health Care Consumer Protection Coordinator
1048 Lake Street, Suite 300
Oak Park, IL 60301
phone (708)383-0258 fax (708)524-0870


AgeOptions, the Area Agency on Aging of Suburban Cook County, is committed to improving the quality of life and maintaining the dignity of older adults and those who care about them - through leadership and support, community partnerships, comprehensive services, accurate information and powerful advocacy.

Fraud Alerts contain information about current scams taking place in Illinois, announcements and updates about programs or services related to health care and/or fraud protection, and links to news articles about health care and fraud topics. Please forward any recommendations or announcements that you would like to be included in a future Fraud Alert to