State wants seniors to help detect Medicaid fraud |

State wants seniors to help detect Medicaid fraud

AP Wire

State and federal officials said Tuesday they’re launching an effort to recruit senior volunteers to help cut an estimated $109 million lost annually to Medicare fraud in Nevada.

A $410,000 federal grant will finance the effort to train seniors on detecting suspected or fraudulent activities on their Medicare or Medicaid bills.

Jo Anne Embry of the state attorney general’s office in Las Vegas will head the program, nicknamed SNAG or Senior Nevada Advocates on Guard.

”I urge all retired senior professionals in our community to please join our team,” Embry said, adding that the program will start in Las Vegas and then extend to Reno and eventually to rural Nevada towns.

The federal government estimates $1 out of $10 spent on Medicare is lost to fraud, waste or abuse. In 1999, $1.1 billion was spent on Medicare in Nevada, with an estimated $109 million lost to fraud.

Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa said, ”The drain to the system as a result of Medicare fraud affects all of us beneficiaries by reducing the quantity and quality of care; honest health care providers and caregivers by decreased funding for vital programs; and all taxpayers by wasting their money.”

Carla Sloan, state director for the American Association of Retired Persons, said she’ll help recruit volunteers to instruct seniors on what to look for on Medicare bills. The volunteers also will be available to review individual complaints.

Nevada is one of 36 states receiving grants for the program. So far, an estimated 6,000 volunteers have been trained nationwide and $1.5 million recouped in 1999.