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October 22, 2009

ULM Institute of Gerontology receives $30,000 for Medicare outreach

The Institute of Gerontology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe received a $30,000 grant for a survey project titled “Statewide Outreach Assessment and Survey of Low Income Medicare Recipients.”

Dr. Iftekhar Amin, principal investigator of the project, said the study would assess the knowledge and use of various Medicare subsidy programs among low-income Medicare eligible individuals (65+) residing in rural Louisiana.

“It also examines the best methods for outreaching these individuals since low-income older Americans are a vulnerable group who face the largest financial burdens in terms of health care costs,” said Amin, assistant professor and institute director.

Amin said sizable proportions of potentially eligible individuals do not participate in public benefit programs.

“Efficient and effective outreach efforts are crucial to ensure that all those who qualify for various Medicare subsidy programs get informed and take advantage of this important assistance,” he said.

The Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs awarded the grant to target Medicare eligible seniors in 35 rural parishes, with special efforts to reach non-white and lower income older people who are typically underserved. Survey results combined with demographics will guide decisions concerning what outreach strategies work best for these populations, according to Amin.

The $30,000 award is for two surveys (pre and post) for a one-year period, with the first one beginning Oct. 10. The initiative includes a partnership with Dr. John Sutherlin, Co-Director of the Social Science Research Lab at ULM.

Results will be used for state and community-level efforts to expand, extend, or enhance outreach to beneficiaries on Part D and to those with limited incomes.

ULM became the first in the state to offer a center on aging, the Institute of Gerontology, funded by a federal grant. In 1992, ULM became the first – and is still the only university in Louisiana – to offer National Association of Boards of Examiners of Long Term Care Administrators’ accredited graduate degree in gerontology.

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