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AARP honors Shaheen, Collins for Medicare act

DOVER - U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Susan Collins have been honored with the AARP's Legislative Achievement Award for their work on the Medicare Transitional Care Act, which is meant to prevent unnecessary re-hospitalizations by providing more coordinated follow-up care for Medicare beneficiaries.

"One of our cornerstone issues is around home care and community-based and long-term care and clearly any efforts that are going to prevent people from being readmitted to hospitals and will support them in the transition is a positive movement forward," said AARP New Hampshire State Director Kelly Clark.

In 2004, Medicare spent an estimated $17.4 billion on unnecessary re-hospitalizations. The Medicare Transitional Care Act is meant to provide appropriate follow-up care for seniors who are discharged from a hospital, thus preventing unnecessary re-hospitalization. Provisions of the Medicare Transitional Care Act were included in the Senate health care reform bill, experts estimate the Medicare Transitional Care Act could save up to $5,000 per Medicare beneficiary, according to AARP.

"I am honored to be receiving this award from AARP. Unnecessary re-hospitalizations are costly for our government, troublesome for our seniors, and easily preventable," Shaheen said. "The goal of health care reform is to make people's lives better by improving the quality of health care they receive while also controlling costs, and as we continue to work on health care reform I'm hopeful commonsense approaches like this will soon be enacted. I thank AARP for all the work they do on behalf of older Americans."

"It is important that Congress continues to work on a bipartisan health care bill that increases access, improves quality and controls costs. I am honored to be recognized by AARP for my work, with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, on the Medicare Transitional Care Act which would help ensure appropriate follow-up care is provided to seniors who are discharged from a hospital, thus preventing unnecessary re-hospitalization and reducing costs," Collins said.

The AARP Legislative Achievement Award is given to Members of Congress who have worked to pass bills that improve the lives of older Americans.