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Michigan 2-1-1 is your go-to source for up-to-the-minute data and stories of local, regional, and state health and human services needs in Michigan. If you’re a member of the media, reach out to media@mi211.org or call 517-371-4360 for more information.

Fraud Alert: COVID-19 SCAMS

From the U.S. DHHS Office of Inspector General

 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector Genera alerting the public about fraud schemes related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Scammers are offering COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. However, the services are unapproved and illegitimate.

Fraudsters are targeting beneficiaries in a number of ways, including telemarketing calls, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits.

These scammers use the coronavirus pandemic to benefit themselves, and beneficiaries face potential harms. The personal information collected can be used to fraudulently bill Federal health care programs and commit medical identity theft. If Medicare or Medicaid denies the claim for an unapproved test, the beneficiary could be responsible for the cost.

Protect Yourself

  • Beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare or Medicaid numbers.
  • Be suspicious of any unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.
  • Ignore offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatments on social media sites.
  • A physician or other trusted healthcare provider should assess your condition and approve any requests for COVID-19 testing.
  • If you suspect COVID-19 fraud, contact National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline (866) 720-5721 or disaster@leo.gov

Website for this information

MDHHS announces statewide hotline to address COVID-19 health questions

MDHHS announces statewide hotline to address COVID-19 health questions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

No. 015 – March 13, 2020

Contact: Lynn Sutfin, SutfinL1@michigan.gov
517-241-2112

LANSING, MICH. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced today the launch of a statewide hotline to respond to health-related questions about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) starting tomorrow, March 14, at 9 a.m.

“As we continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our state, we want to ensure Michiganders have the information they need to stay healthy, address concerns and know where to go for the care they need if they experience symptoms,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health.

Public health and other experts will answer health-related questions about COVID-19. The team can also direct residents, providers and more to the right resources in their local communities and in other state government departments.
The hotline will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-888-535-6136.

Staff cannot provide individual clinical advice or a diagnosis through the hotline. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are symptomatic, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.

Patients with confirmed infection have reported mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
  • Replace handshakes with elbow bumps.
  • Stay at least six feet away from others when in a public setting.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Call 811 before any digging projects.

MPSC urges Michiganders to stay safe, make free call to 811 before starting any digging project LANSING, Mich. – Every year, underground utility lines in Michigan are damaged during digging activities because someone didn’t check first for the location of buried infrastructure. April is Safe Digging Month and the Michigan Public Service Commission reminds everyone --from homeowners to construction crews -- to make a free call to MISS DIG 811 before starting any outdoor digging project and have work areas marked for safety. “April is the traditional start of construction and excavation season, whether it’s a homeowner putting in a fence post or a developer doing site work for a business expansion,” said Sally Talberg, chairman of the MPSC. “We strongly encourage individuals and companies to call 811 before beginning any projects, no matter how small, to protect underground utility lines from being struck and potentially causing injuries or outages.” A few days before starting an excavation project, make a free call to 811 or fill out a request online at www.MISSDIG811.org (homeowners should click on “Request Service” and excavators should select “e-Locate.”) Trained workers from local utilities will be dispatched to a job site to mark the approximate locations of underground gas, electric, communications, water, or sewer lines using flags or spray paint. To be safe, do no start an outdoor project until public utility locations are marked, and carefully dig by hand in the designated areas. “I would like to remind all Michiganders that as you move into spring and begin your excavation projects, contact MISS DIG 811 first. It’s easy, it's free, and it's the law,” said Bruce Campbell, CEO of MISS DIG System, Inc. “Keep yourself, your neighbors and underground utilities safe: Call MISS DIG 811 before you dig!” Research by Common Ground Alliance, the national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, found that 42 percent of homeowners who plan to dig this year for DIY projects say they will not call 811 beforehand. That puts homeowners at risk of serious injury or even death if they strike underground lines and their communities at risk of losing utility service. Go to www.call811.com for more information.