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    Study finds no health drawbacks to veterans' dual use of VA, Medicare Advantage PDF Print E-mail
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    In a study that examined quality measures for chronic disease care, veterans who used both Department of Veterans Affairs care and a Medicare Advantage plan during 2008 or 2009 did no better or worse than those who used only Veterans Affairs care.

    The study, which included 6,643 older, chronically ill veterans who were enrolled in both federal health systems, was recently published inHealth Services Research.

    Researchers conducted the study in response to concerns that dual enrollment may lead to poorly coordinated medical care and duplicate taxpayer spending.

    “Although dual use does not appear to have any negative impact on quality of care, we found no evidence that it improves the quality of care veterans are getting. That point needs to be considered in light of the duplicate federal spending that comes along with dual enrollment,”Amal Trivedi, MPH, MD, physician and health services researcher at the Providence Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and Brown University and senior author on the study, stated in a press release.

    Trivedi and lead author Alicia Cooper, PhD, assistant professor of marketing in the Division of Business at Dillard University collaborated with researchers from two other VA sites and three universities.

    Nurse practitioner Jyoti Desai (right) and nurse Barbara Murphy see an older primary care patient at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.

    Source: Leonardi T.

    The study focused on measures of good care for diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, such as well-controlled blood sugar or blood pressure.

    Researchers found despite the dual enrollment, about a quarter of the seniors in the study actually used only VA for outpatient care. Veterans in the VA-only group were more likely to be black, younger (within the 65 years or older age bracket), and have lower incomes. They were also in poorer health overall. In the study, in addition to the 25%of veterans who relied strictly on VA care, despite their dual enrollment, another 20% used almost all VA care, and no Medicare Advantage care. The Medicare Advantage network involves private managed health plans that contract with the federal government. They receive a fixed dollar amount each year for every enrollee, regardless of how much medical care the patient actually consumes.

    The researchers compared the outcomes of the veterans only using VA care with the outcomes of dually enrolled veterans who used both systems for outpatient care.

    “The use of Medicare Advantage plans has grown sharply in the last few years,” Trivedi stated in the release. “We have found that about 10% of the enrolled VA population is now also in one of these plans.”

    The researchers found that there appeared to be no significant drawback, medically speaking, to veterans’ receiving care through both systems, at least in terms of intermediate outcomes relating to blood pressure, blood sugar, or cholesterol control. The study did not look at outcomes such as hospitalization or death.

    “In VA, we like to deliver comprehensive care to veterans, but we recognize that veterans have choices for care outside of VA. That can potentially be a benefit if there are some complementary services and if both systems interact well and share information. But there can also be some potential quality challenges, particularly if information is not well-shared, or if there is fragmentation in care,” Trivedi stated.


    Trivedi A, et al. Health Serv Res. 2015;doi:10.1111/1475-6773.12303.

    Disclosure: The researchers report the study was funded by the VA Health Services Research & Development Service.

    WGNO-Denzel Washington to deliver commencement address at Dillard University PDF Print E-mail
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    Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 10.26.50 AM

    NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Two-time Academy Award and Tony Award-winning actor Denzel Washington will deliver the commencement address at Dillard University this May.

    “We are excited to have Denzel Washington as our 2015 Commencement Speaker,” said Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard.

    “He has been a supporter of our Theater Program, which happens to be the oldest Historically Black College and University Theater Program in the country, for the past ten years,” he added. “Several Denzel Washington Scholars are candidates in this year’s graduating class and they will be ecstatic about having him as our speaker.”

    In 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the address.

    The commencement ceremony will be Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 8 a.m.

    Dillard, United Way seek chefs for cook-off PDF Print E-mail
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    Compiled by Advocate

    Dillard University and United Way of Southeast Louisiana are seeking chefs and home cooks to compete in the “Taste of Dillard Cook-Off, which will held from noon to 5 p.m. March 7 on the university’s campus.

    Proceeds will go to scholarships for Dillard students.

    Erica Durousseau, development officer for corporate relations at Dillard, said cooks will be competing for more than $1,000 in cash and prizes.

    Entry fees cover registration, tables and chairs for booth set-up.

    All submissions are due by Feb. 20. Cook time begins between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Judging for the competition as well as service to the public will begin at noon. Each contestant must have enough food to provide 150-200 samples.

    The March 7 event will also feature music performances and entertainment, celebrity chefs, a silent auction and raffle.

    For a full list of rules and regulations, visit For more information about the cook-off or corporate sponsorship, contact Durousseau at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


    IHeart Radio's 'This Day in Quiztory' featured a Narrative written by DU Student Kristin Livingston PDF Print E-mail
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    Dillard's Film Dept. Shines in "Runaway Hearts" PDF Print E-mail
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    UNION GAP, Wash. -- It's a story about strangers who extend a helping hand and the miracle that occurs with every decision made. A fitting plot, especially since it's written in Yakima and required some leaps of faith from investors to make it a reality. The crew, visiting the Majestic Theater in Union Gap, finally got to preview their finished piece. 

    "Even as I watch it now, having written it, I still kind of welt up," said Scott Sandsberry, writer and producer of "Runaway Hearts. "Even though these are fictional characters, these are real life situations that happen." 

    "Runaway Hearts" wouldn't have seen any screen time without the help from local support. Yakima-area supporters was the difference needed to make the movie a reality. 

    "You can really see why this is referred to as Yakima's film, or Yakima's movie, because again the love and everything that's behind it really shows on the big screen," said Cortheal Clark, "Runaway Hearts" Production Designer. 

    They feel blessed for the money raised locally -- they reached out to friends, colleagues and acquaintances who invested time and resources into the project. Although it was filmed in New Orleans, Sandsberry pictured houses along Tieton Road when he wrote the story. The plot was inspired by a dinner conversation Sandsberry had with his wife. 

    The story caught the attention of a New Orleans director, who was struck by the selfless nature of the characters -- a trait Director Keith Allan Morris says is rare in the competitive movie industry.

    "It's a brutal business sometimes, and we wanted to be sweet to the kids, I think they had such a positive experience out of it. That's what really mattered most to me," said Morris. 

    They spent two months filming in New Orleans where the crew became family, living together in the buildings of Dillard University with big-name actors such as John Schneider, Wendell Pierce, and Jay Kenneth Johnson. 

    Sandsberry feels blessed the cast was just as supportive behind the scenes as they were on camera. 

    "If we aren't reaching out our hands, if we're turning away, we're missing the boat," said Sandsberry. 

    There were many helping hands along the way.

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