IA2 Receives Grant to Educate SMPs about AI/AN Outreach

Date: Nov. 15, 2013
Contact: Dave Baldridge

Press Release 

The International Association for Indigenous Aging (IA2) is pleased to announce the receipt of a SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) Target Population Integration Grant from the Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging (AoA). The IA2 project will focus on the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Medicare population to develop outreach and educational materials to assist the SMPs in their efforts to ensure high quality and culturally competent service delivery to this hard-to-reach population..

AoA funds SMPs in each state to empower and assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse through outreach, counseling, and education. SMP staff use trained volunteers to conduct outreach to Medicare beneficiaries in their communities through group presentations, exhibiting at community events, answering calls to the SMP help lines, and one-on-one counseling. Their primary goal is to teach Medicare beneficiaries how to protect their personal identity, identify and report errors on their health care bills, and identify deceptive health care practices, such as illegal marketing, providing unnecessary or inappropriate services, and charging for services that were not provided.

Historically, AI/ANs have not benefited from outreach messages about Medicare fraud. Much of their health care is provided with no co-pays required by the Indian health care delivery I/T/U system (Indian Health Service (IHS), Tribal health care, and Urban Indian health providers). Many of the 700,000 or so AI/ANs that do receive Medicare as their primary payer have not necessarily been motivated to protect IHS or Medicare funds. Medicare is sometimes seen as just another stream of federal payments for health care. These beneficiaries may feel that Medicare fraud only affects a government program and has nothing to do with them as individuals and causes them no harm.

In addition, given the many responsibilities of SMP programs, they have not often been able to focus on reaching out to tribal or urban AI/ANs, and may lack the knowledge and training to do so in a culturally competent and effective manner. The complex relationship between Medicare and the I/T/U system can be difficult to understand for some SMPs, as well as beneficiaries and providers, and therefore to understand in what ways AI/AN beneficiaries may be subject to or vulnerable to fraud, abuse and errors.

The International Association for Indigenous Aging’s – and AoA’s — ultimate goal is to help SMPs continue to do the great work they do, by providing the most culturally competent and effective information to SMPs on reaching out to the AI/AN Medicare population.

IA2’s end-product produced for AoA will be a dynamic and useful toolkit that SMPs can use to reach out with confidence to this population. The toolkit will be useful nationwide, including training materials, information on cultural competence and how to reach out to this special population, fact sheets, discussion guides, talking points, volunteer recruitment/training strategies and other materials.

In addition, IA2 will be working directly with SMPs to facilitate connections with Native communities in high-AI/AN-population states.

IA2’s Executive Director Dave Baldridge (Cherokee) will serve as Project Director and oversee the project and coordinate all tribal communications, oversee the collection of data, and write an Outreach Primer on AI/AN populations that will be part of the toolkit product. He also will review all materials for cultural competency.

IA2 President Bill Benson will provide technical support and advice, conduct interviews and webinars.

IA2 Research and Evaluation Manager Jolie Crowder, RN, MSN, CCM, will prepare a toolkit for SMPs, lead educational efforts about Medicare fraud in relation to Indian health care providers, and provide ongoing consultation to participating SMPs regarding effective presentations.

IA2 consultant Sherrie Varner (Choctaw) will provide expertise on the intersection of the I/T/U system with Medicare and consultant Kauffman & Associates will assist with the toolkit, interviews, data collection and webinars.

In an effort to expand the reach of the SMP program nationally, AoA awarded a total of five SMP Integration Grants to support the development of outreach and education strategies aimed at integrating traditionally hard-to-reach populations. Other Integration Grant awardees will target Medicare beneficiaries under age 65 and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors.

IA2’s $149,000 project is funded 100% by AoA.



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