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Mass. group to receive grant to lower hospital readmissions

Elder Services of Merrimack Valley will be one of seven organizations in the country to receive money through a new program aimed at helping people to get better care after they are discharged from the hospital. This is the first round of such grants being made through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Partnership for Patients program, created under the Affordable Care Act with the goal of reducing readmissions to hospitals by 20 percent over a three years.

“Lack of coordinated care between hospitals and caretakers such as nursing homes or home health providers can sometimes result in medical complications and costly, potentially avoidable return trips to the hospital,” CMS Administrator Dr. Donald Berwick said in a press release. “This program will be looking at methods to improve collaboration among caregivers to promote better health and better use of health care dollars.”

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Elder Services serves 33 communities in the Merrimack Valley, including 10 in southern New Hampshire. In a two-year agreement with CMS, the group will partner with five local hospitals: Anna Jacques Hospital, Saints Medical Center, Holy Family Hospital, Lawrence General Hospital, and Merrimack Valley Hospital.

Awardees will be paid a flat fee for every person served through the program. I have no details yet on just how Elder Services and its partners will use the money, but I will update when I do. See the full list of awardees, which serve a total of about 34,000 Medicare enrollees across the United States.

Chelsea Conaboy can be reached at cconaboy@boston.com. Follow her on Twitter @cconaboy.
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