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Commissioner Rothman to train doctors Friday how to spot elder fraud, financial abuse

April 26, 2012

For Immediate Release

BROOKLYN CENTER, MN – Most patients are used to their doctors asking questions about physical abuse at home. But the Minnesota Department of Commerce is heading up a new partnership with medical professionals statewide to train and encourage doctors to spot financial abuse as well – particularly in elderly patients who are often prime targets for fraud and financial schemes.

As Financial Literacy Month continues, Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, the University of Minnesota’s Dr. Ed Ratner (one of the state’s leading geriatrics physicians), and Janet Golden from the Tubman Senior Rights Alliance are teaming up Friday to teach Twin Cities doctors how to spot fraud and financial abuse in their elderly patients.

Due to age-related factors, illnesses, and cognitive impairment, many older adults are particularly vulnerable to investment fraud and financial exploitation. Senior citizens control nearly 70 percent of the nation’s wealth – and crooks know it, often making seniors a prime target for fraud. According to the 2010 IPT Elder Fraud Survey, more than seven million older Americans – one out of every five citizens over the age of 65 – already have been victimized by a financial swindle. In fact, older consumers lose $2.5 billion every year to financial abuse – a startling statistic that Commissioner Rothman is working to change.

"Within this decade, there will be more Minnesotans over the age of 65 than children enrolled in our public schools," said Commissioner Rothman. "By 2030, one out of every four people in our state will be 65 or older. Now is the time to put systems like these in place to protect our parents and grandparents from the very real threat of fraud and financial abuse.”

Tomorrow’s training session, in coordination with the Minnesota Gerontological Society, is a continuation of the Commerce Department’s involvement in the ongoing Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program (EIFFE); a successful national effort that educates medical professionals about how to identify senior citizens who may be particularly vulnerable to investment fraud, and then refer those at-risk patients to local Adult Protective Services (APS) professionals.

The EIFFE program was developed with a grant to Baylor College of Medicine made by the non-profit Investor Protection Trust. Minnesota is one of 27 states participating in the continuing medical education program. A Clinician’s Pocket Guide and a Patient Education Brochure will be provided for all attendees, including reference materials about how to screen for fraud and how to make referrals.

Commissioner Rothman, Dr. Ratner, and Ms. Golden will begin their presentation on Friday, April 27 at 2:15pm at Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. The event is open to the press.

Mike Rothman, Commerce Commissioner
Dr. Ed Ratner, University of Minnesota
Janet Golden, Director of Sustainability Services, Tubman Senior Rights Alliance
Geriatrics Physicians

Fraud prevention training for geriatrics physicians

Friday, April 26

Earle Brown Heritage Center
6155 Earle Brown Drive
Brooklyn Center, MN 55430