We have a special relationship with our doctors. We trust them and tell them intimate details about our lives. And doctors who see us regularly are likely to notice changes from visit to visit that might signal that all is not well.
That's why some regulators and advocates for the elderly are reaching out to primary-care physicians, hoping they will use their unique position to help spot when older patients — particularly those with mild cognitive impairment — are victims of financial fraud.
About half the states so far have signed on to the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation program that aims to train doctors on the red flags of financial exploitation and gives them the information they need to refer patients for help.
The program is run by the nonprofit Investor Protection Institute and the Baylor College of Medicine.
Diagnosing financial fraud may seem an unlikely role for busy doctors. But finances are a health issue, say regulators and geriatric specialists. Elderly patients bilked out of their savings can be under heavy stress that causes their health to deteriorate or leaves them unable to afford medicine and regular visits to the doctor.
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Doctors Asked to Keep Eye Out for Elder Fraud