Friday, March 18, 2016
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In This Issue
Fraud in the News
The following are current news articles about health care and fraud issues.

Health Care Fraud:

Consumer Fraud:

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 project was supported, in part by grant number 90MP0216, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy. 

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Dear SMP Readers, 


In this week's Fraud Alert, we highlight Fraud in the News, spotlight the government's efforts to fight health care fraud and share a robocall scam warning.


Have a great weekend!

More Fraud in the News

Every Fraud Alert from the Illinois SMP includes "Fraud in the News" links in the left sidebar. Sometimes, like today, there are too many to fit over there. Here are some recent health care fraud news stories:

The Chicago Tribune reported on a conviction and a sentencing for two individuals connected with the fraud investigation into the now closed Sacred Heart Hospital:

A Chicago doctor was sentenced to prison for taking kickbacks to prescribe a risky drug to patients with mental illness, as reported by the Chicago Tribune:

The director of nursing assistants at an Illinois hospice was convicted on three counts of health care fraud according to the Department of Justice:

How the Government Fights Health Care Fraud

The Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program (HCFAC) is one way the federal government addresses health care fraud. The Department of Justice recently released a fact sheet highlighting this program and the federal government's success in fighting this fraud (click here to read this fact sheet).

While the government is working to end fraud, consumers and beneficiaries, like you, are often the most important resource in this fight. SMPs in every state receive part of our funding from HCFAC, please use us! In Illinois, report potential health care fraud to the Illinois SMP at AgeOptions or schedule a presentation about preventing health care fraud by calling (800)699-9043 and ask for "SMP." If you live outside of Illinois, visit to find your local SMP.
New Twist in Utility Scam and Fighting Back Against Robocalls

AARP reports a new twist in the utility scam. This scam is especially convincing in cold, winter months when people are afraid of having their heat cut off. Using robocalls, scammers tell you to call them back at a number. You call that number, and it sounds like your actual utility company's automated service. All of this makes the scam sound real, but it is not. The scammers are mimicking your local utility's automated service. Read more about this new twist in this AARP article (click here).

If you need to contact your utility company, bank, or other entity, always look up the number yourself. For example, look for your power company's number on an old bill. Scams often start with robocalls. Learn more about illegal robocalls by reading this Federal Trade Commission (FTC) blog post (click here) and watching the video at the end.

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