If five senior citizens left the hospital today, statistics say one would be back within 30 days for another stay. That's too many. And it costs the country nearly $26 billion each year.
In response, the government created the Community Care Transitions Program. The idea is to help high-risk patients after hospital stays so they have a better transition home or to some other doctor. It brings health care right to the community - so it's easier than ever for seniors to get the care they need.
How does it work?
First, community clinics and programs apply to get funding. These clinics have close relationships with nearby hospitals and the ability to care for older people transitioning out of the hospital.
The clinics and programs also get different amounts of funding - based on the cost of health care. So, if a patient needs a costly treatment to transition out of the hospital, it'll factor into the government's funding.
To apply, community groups need to describe how they'll help patients. This way, the government can test many approaches to senior care - and see what works best. The program runs through 2016.
How it impacts you
If you're a high-risk patient and can get Medicare, chances are, this program could help you. If you go to the hospital for a serious condition, your doctors will put you in touch with nearby community health programs when you leave. You'll get ongoing support to help you handle your condition.
Where are the community centers?
The program is still growing, but right now, there are close to 50 participating organizations. View the full list on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website.
Does this cost extra?
No. You won't get an extra bill at the hospital. The Community Care Transitions Program is a government-sponsored health care reform program. It's meant to help lower hospital readmissions.