SJMC to help state reach Medicare beneficiaries

Researchers in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication have received a $448,800 award to help the State of Texas connect with rural and low-income Medicare beneficiaries who might be eligible for additional assistance.

The grant from the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) will allow Texas State University to research the most effective strategies for communicating with and educating Texans who are on Medicare or who will be within the next five years. The effort is part of a larger state-federal project, the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA), to improve access to Medicare and ensure low-income beneficiaries get the medical care they need.

Through interviews, surveys and other outreach efforts, Texas State’s team will evaluate how older Texans are using the media and learning about Medicare-specific services, including Medicare savings programs, low income subsidies, Medicare Part D and prevention and wellness benefits. Researchers will then develop strategies to more effectively reach these target audiences.

Judy Oskam, professor and director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is leading a team with expertise in media, creative strategy, adult education and outreach.  “We are excited to work with the aging network across the state to determine the best way to reach key audiences with Medicare information,” Oskam said.

Texas State’s final report will be used to support the state and the area agencies on aging (AAAs) in reaching beneficiaries. The AAAs are responsible for communicating aging-related materials to seniors in local communities.

For more information about Texas State’s involvement in this project, please contact Dr. Judy Oskam at 512-245-2656 or oskam@txstate.edu.

The Texas State University MIPPA Project team includes Kelly Kaufhold (research director), Judy Oskam (PI) and research associates Jenny Buschhorn, Kym Fox, Vanessa Higgins Joyce, Gigi Taylor, Jacie Yang and Carrie Boden-McGill. Grant coordinators Jessica James and Dan Seed and three graduate research assistants, Zahra Khani (Geography), Rana Zeidan (Social Work) and Yazmin Rodriguez (Health Administration), are also working on the project.  Lisa Westerbeck, C3 Research Coordinator, has provided budget and staff support.

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