Indiana Creates Council to Fight Senior Exploitation
Recently, IN-CASE Vice Chair Nancy Moore wrote about the work that went into founding our Council. It was originally published in November 2019 in Medicare Messenger. We decided to republish it here so that you might gain a greater understanding of IN-CASE.
The Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging (IAAAA) Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program is a statewide leader of health care fraud prevention education and routinely receives reports of suspected Medicare fraud. As a trusted source, it also receives reports of other types of fraud and abuse. That’s one reason why the Indiana SMP, in conjunction with the Indiana Secretary of State, created the Indiana Council Against Senior Exploitation (IN-CASE). IN-CASE launched the coalition in June 2019 by hosting or exhibiting at several events throughout the state. IN-CASE currently has about 60 member organizations, including the Indiana Secretary of State, the Indiana Attorney General, Better Business Bureau Serving Central Indiana, AARP Indiana, Indiana Legal Services, the Indiana Division of Aging, elder law attorneys, and other state, local, and national public and private organizations. The goal is to amplify the organizations’ efforts to end all types of fraud and exploitation targeting older adults in Indiana.
The early stages of IN-CASE began more than four years ago when I hosted quarterly networking meetings of government agencies and nonprofit organizations that serve older adults and/or have a mission to educate them and their caregivers about all types of fraud prevention. The goals of the networking group were to learn from other agencies how and where they reached the older adult audience and how to work together. The group continued to meet quarterly, as all found it beneficial to share experiences, contacts, and methods of educating Hoosiers on the prevention of fraud, abuse, and exploitation of older adults. The Indiana Secretary of State’s representative suggested that the group formalize into a statewide coalition. The group consulted with other states that have formed similar alliances.
During the time of formation, monthly meetings were held to: develop a name and mission statement; create a website, logo, brochure, and social media sites; and decide how to work together more intentionally. The name (and acronym) and the mission statement were perhaps the most time-consuming aspects of the formation. Fortunately, the Indiana Secretary of State’s investment fraud division made the council a priority and created the website. The Better Business Bureau Serving Central Indiana agreed to host the website.
IN-CASE decided to host several events throughout the state to recognize its creation. The council also requested a proclamation via Governor Holcomb’s office in which the week of June 9, 2019, was declared Indiana Elder Abuse Awareness Week. The week culminated in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, 2019. Several IN-CASE members created a press release highlighting the events and the governor’s proclamation; the release garnered some statewide publicity. IN-CASE participated in or hosted several statewide events during that week with expert panelists from member agencies to educate Hoosiers on how to prevent fraud, abuse, and exploitation in their communities. The council continues to meet quarterly and is developing work groups to manage the coordination of social media, events, blog writing, and website content.
This is a great way for SMPs to work more intentionally with partners that have more name recognition and broader capacity to increase visibility and credibility. The entire group has found it beneficial to develop a “no wrong door” approach when referring people to other organizations and agencies. Some other positive outcomes of this collaboration are:
Increased outreach opportunities through the network. Combining expertise and using several panelists from different organizations impart more impact and typically generate more participants.
IN-CASE recently created a blog section, which not only elevates the optimization of the website but also gives members another opportunity to educate professionals and the public.
The website also includes a Request a Speaker page, giving member organizations additional visibility.
The mission of IN-CASE is to empower Indiana communities to prevent and end senior exploitation and abuse through education, encouragement, and empowerment. Please visit the IN-CASE website to learn more: www.in-case.org.
SMP Program Director
Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging
If you have any questions about how to organize a council in your state, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-205-9201.