Hawaii’s Senior Medicare Patrol uses humor to get message across to kupuna

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As scammers continue to target senior citizens, there’s an ever-growing need for education and outreach.

The Senior Medicare Patrol Hawaii is a powerful, yet little-known group of about 50 volunteers around the state doing its best to spread the word about fraud targeting the elderly.

“Our organization helps beneficiaries to empower them, to protect, detect, and report Medicare fraud and abuse and errors,” said Senior Medicare Patrol Hawaii Volunteer Coordinator Kaipolani Cullen.

Volunteers attend events such as senior fairs and conduct outreach in the community.

One group, called the Drama Club, performs skits demonstrating what a scam would look like.

“I really feel like it’s the biggest bang for the buck because not only are we providing education, but we’re actually painting a picture of what it would look like if a kupuna were to be tricked,” said Cullen.

The skits also incorporate lots of humor which Cullen says makes them a lot more fun and effective.

Just ask Hannah Hall, a senior citizen herself who has been a volunteer for almost 2 years.

“The drama club, it just rocks.  We really have so much fun and people come up to me after the gig and they say ‘I learned so much today'”.

Cullen says one of the topics the skits emphasize is that seniors should always be reading their medical statements and report any errors.

Another problem is that too many seniors are giving out their personal information.

“It’s the consciousness, it’s the awareness that really is very, it’s imperative that everyone take responsibility for their own accounts,” said Hall.

If you’re interested in having the Senior Medicare Patrol Hawaii volunteers make a presentation to your group, or if you want to volunteer, please call 586-7319 or toll free at 1-800-296-9422 or visit their website.

If you have a concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 Monday-Friday between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. or send an email to actionline@khon2.com.

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