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William and Mary Digest Nov. 9

Professor, students create documentary

Francie Cate-Arries's next big project will show some of the research she and some of her students have done abroad over the past three years.

Her new documentary, "Three Days in July," will bring viewers the experiences of people who either were directly affected by the Spanish Civil War or have immediate family members who were.

On Monday, Cate-Arries, a professor of Hispanic studies at the College of William and Mary, hand-delivered the documentary to the government of the Spanish city Cádiz, which funded the project in an attempt to find some of the recorded history that Spain has lost over the years.

"It's a lovely moment for me as a professor of William & Mary students to take this documentary to the local government that made the film possible, as well as to university affiliates who also worked with William & Mary summer school students over there," she said. "I'm extremely proud – and grateful – of the work they've put in."

Students found more work than they might have expected creating subtitles for the documentary.

"Going into it, I didn't necessarily think it was going to be easier than it was, but I don't think I was ready for the start, stop, start, stop, start, stop," Kyle McQuillan said. "It was a very tedious process, especially the original transcription, where you have to listen to the same sentence over and over, and transcribing two minutes can take three hours because you're trying to separate what sounds like one word but is actually four because they dropped every consonant."

The significance of the events the documentary covers also made for an interesting nuance as the students worked.

"These people are talking about the most awful thing that happened in their family's life, the most traumatic events, and we had to both maintain that heaviness, while also making it succinct in making it a subtitle so someone could read it and move on," Molly Bertolacini said. "It was incredibly cool and incredibly difficult at the same time."

Simply translating the film from Spanish to English makes for what could be a film that has a much large footprint than it would have created otherwise.

"Spanish limits the audience," Cate-Arries said. "Two research assistants here at William & Mary — Robert Bohnke '17 and Michael Le '15 — did subtitles on a (previous) documentary, and, subsequently, filmmaker Juan León Moriche was able to enter it in a New York human rights film festival. It didn't win, but organizers liked it enough to include it in a Civil War film festival this fall. That meant the world to the director because he never could have shown his film in the United States."

Study finds patients re-enter hospitals less

A study led by an William and Mary economist found older citizens on Medicare are visiting hospitals less often than they were before hospitals had penalties for repeat patients under the Affordable Care Act of 2012.

Jennifer Mellor, professor of economics at William & Mary and the director of its Schroeder Center for Health Policy, worked with senior Molly Smith on a study that found Medicare recipients are between 2.5 and 2.8 less likely to return to the hospital within a month of their treatment.

The change likely comes from a part of the Affordable Care Act that require hospitals take substantial care of the people who enter them, according to Mellor.

"The (Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program) was included in the Affordable Care Act as a way of incentivizing hospitals to reduce readmissions of Medicare patients," said Mellor. "Readmissions are a problem because they suggest that something was perhaps missed during the initial hospital stay — either the quality of care wasn't up to snuff or the hospital discharged the patient too quickly."

Smith spoke to why she participated in the project and its tie to the bigger picture of health policy in the country.

"There are lots of opportunities to do undergraduate research at W&M," said Smith, who was among the first three students to participate in the summer research program in 2015. "But, as a student interested in health policy, it was especially unique to work with researchers who are on the other side of the coin. We know about policy, numbers and data, but they have a more solid understanding of what goes on with patients and in hospitals, so they can offer a different way of looking at similar health issues."

The exact reason for Medicare patients coming back is unknown since there are so many different variables. What changed is anybody's guess.

"Our best guess is that it has something to do with how the hospitals are able to coordinate the patient's care outside the hospital," Mellor said. "Either that or there's something going on within the hospital that we can't observe on a discharge record, which may well be true because quality of care is very difficult to quantify."

This information compiled from William and Mary University Communications department reports.

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