LAWRENCE – The Massachusetts Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Program was one of only five SMP Programs in the country to receive a $150,000 federal grant to increase and improve the diversity of its paid and volunteer workforce to better meet the needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries across the Commonwealth.
The Massachusetts SMP, hosted by AgeSpan, empowers and assists Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse. The grant from the Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is used to educate and activate at least 5,000 Medicare beneficiaries from diverse and underserved communities over 18 months.
“We talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion, but if we’re not intentional about diversifying and inclusivity, we’ll never get to equity,” says MA SMP Statewide Director Lucilia Prates-Ramos. “We all need to be putting on a different lens.”
The project is designed to replicate these efforts in SMP programs across the country, a groundbreaking movement to address these issues on a national basis.
MA SMP recently hired Gisele M. Michel as its Diversity+Inclusion=Equity Project Coordinator to conduct outreach, recruitment, and training efforts to immigrants, those with a limited ability to speak English, people affected by health disparities due to structural racism and bias, people with disabilities, those who are homeless, individuals from indigenous communities, people who identify as LGBTQ+, and other communities facing barriers. Additionally, the initiative will educate more than 1,000 SMP professionals and volunteers from statewide organizations about the importance of advancing DEI efforts. A statewide DEI Advisory Council will enhance this widening and deepening outreach, bolstered by regional advisory councils across the Commonwealth.
Our partners in this initiative include the My Ombudsman/ Disability Policy Consortium, Executive Office of Elder Affairs (SHINE & ADRC), Councils on Aging, and community-based-organizations.
The MA SMP Program is one of 54 Senior Medicare Patrol programs across the country including Washington DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, and U.S. Virgin Islands. The MA SMP Program is funded by the Administration for Community Living. Visit masmp.org, call 978-683-7747 or email firstname.lastname@example.org