SMP, formerly known as "Operation Restore Trust" began in 1995 in California, Texas, New York, Illinois and Florida. When these five state programs were successful in returning $23 to Medicare for every $1 spent, the U.S. Administration on Aging expanded the grants awarded to 12 states in 1997; this is when Iowa joined the effort. Later, the Administration on Aging began funding SMP grants for every state and U.S. territory.
Iowa SMP has fulfilled the mission of recruiting and training retired volunteers to educate their peers to detect and report healthcare payment errors and suspected fraud and abuse, as well as protect their personal information. The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General reports the results of SMP efforts to the Administration on Aging and Congress. The annual report can be viewed by accessing the OIG Web site, www.oig.hhs.gov, linking to "reports," then "Office of Evaluation and Inspection Records," then using the search function for "SMP."
Iowa is fortunate to have honest and caring healthcare providers. Most errors in Medicare and other health insurance payments for older citizens are due to simple mistakes that can be easily corrected. However, Congress continues to focus on the need to increase the accuracy of Medicare payments and reduce fraud and abuse, which typically stems from a few perpetrators scamming large sums of money.
SMP works with the Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services and accomplishes prevention of incorrect payments (due to early detection by consumers), and streamlined referrals of potential fraud and abuse for expeditious investigation.
In 2002, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare presented their "Medicare Fraud, Waste and Abuse Prevention Award" to Iowa SMP (then known as "Operation Restore Trust of Iowa"). This recognition was for Iowa's outstanding efforts to enhance quality of life for older citizens by protecting their financial independence and contributing to the solvency of the Medicare Trust Funds by helping recover misspent money.