By Suzanne Monaghan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Medicare was set to begin fining hospitals on Monday that have too many senior patients readmitted within 30 days. The move is part of a government effort to improve health care quality while saving taxpayers money.

According to Priscilla Koutsouradis with Delaware Valley Health Care Council, many area hospitals have invested in patient education and have hired staff to help patients coordinate their follow up appointments. Koutsouradis sees the penalties as a positive for patients, but has some concerns for hospitals.

“The hospital community is being asked to make the investments, to drive these changes, to do it with less payment,” she says. “And at the same time, many of the conditions that determine whether a patient needs to be readmitted are out of the hospitals control.”

That’s why Koutsouradis stresses patient care needs to be a collaborative effort between hospitals, nursing homes, home care providers, doctors and patients.

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