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Allegheny County gets $980,000 to help end hospital readmissions

| Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, 5:28 p.m.

Medicare patients with chronic conditions at five area hospitals will be monitored by Allegheny County “coaches” looking to reduce readmissions, the county's Area Agency on Aging said Thursday.

Agency workers will educate up to 2,900 patients a year at Allegheny General Hospital, Allegheny Valley Hospital, Forbes Regional Hospital, Ohio Valley General Hospital and Jefferson Regional Medical Center, said Mary Phan-Gruber, the agency's deputy administrator.

The workers will visit patients before discharge and provide a follow-up visit at home as well as several phone calls in the month after discharge. They will teach patients how to manage their medications and identify symptoms of their illness to head off the need for a return hospital visit.

For each patient it helps, the county will receive a payment from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, up to $980,000 a year for two years, Phan-Gruber said.

Hospital readmissions was a key cause of rising medical costs identified in last year's Trib investigation, “Code Green: Bleeding Dollars.”

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