Health Briefs: Medicare fraud presentation slated for Monday | CraigDailyPress.com

Health Briefs: Medicare fraud presentation slated for Monday

Betsy Packer, Medicare coordinator for the Area Agency on Aging of Northwest ColoradoArea Agency on Aging of Northwest Colorado, is slated to deliver a presentation on Medicare fraud from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday in Room 201 of the Bell Tower Building, on 50 College Drive., is slated to deliver a presentation on Medicare fraud from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday in Room 201 of the Bell Tower Building, on 50 College Drive.

Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Colorado, is slated to deliver a presentation on Medicare fraud from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday in Room 201 of the Bell Tower Building, on 50 College Drive.

Part of the presentation will be designed to encourage people to read their bills, and to make sure that no unwarranted charges are appearing there. She said seniors may not always check over their Medicare bills — and that checking, she said, is something she advises them to do.

"I think of it like my debit card and my credit card," she said. "When the bills come in, I check them. That's what this is about: checking to see that what's being billed is proper."

Collectively, finding charges that don't belong on Medicare bills could save recipients significant sums of money, Packer explained. And misstatements, she said, don't always signal fraud — but it's still important to notice them.

"Sometimes that happens just as an error," she said.

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Packer, in describing her presentation, pointed to the definitions of fraud and abuse on a handout from the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. Fraud, the sheet reads, "occurs when an individual or organization deliberately deceives others in order to gain unauthorized benefit." Medicare abuse occurs "when providers supply services or products that are not medically necessary or that do not meet professional standards."

Packer is available regularly in the Bell Tower, in Room 106, to talk with people about Medicare. She also offers what she calls a "Medicare 101" presentation to help people navigate the intricacies of Medicare signup.

"If you're on Medicare, and you have a question about a bill, call me," she said, "and we'll review the bill."

She also welcomes calls and visits from people who are approaching the 65th birthday and who are getting ready to sign up. The number to call to set up an appointment, she said, is 970-819-6401.

The last four digits, she said, call to mind someone who's approaching a 65th birthday.

Mountain Madness run/walk to benefit Northwest Colorado Health

The Mountain Madness half-marathon and 10K run/walk will be held July 2 in Steamboat Springs. Proceeds from the event, hosted by the Steamboat Springs Running Series, will benefit health and wellness programs at Northwest Colorado Health (formerly Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association — VNA).

It will begin at 7:30 a.m. in the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Parking lot, 245 Howelsen Parkway. Entries are $25 to $40 and include post-race food, prizes for winners and a raffle entry. Walkers are welcome in the 10K. Pre-registration is available at http://www.steamboatrunningseries.com.