February 18, 2010

(Washington, D.C.)-U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen has been honored with AARP's 2009 Legislative Achievement Award. The national seniors group selected Shaheen as a recipient this year in recognition of her work on the bipartisan Medicare Transitional Care Act, which would prevent unnecessary re-hospitalizations by providing more coordinated follow-up care for Medicare beneficiaries.

"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," said Shaheen.  "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."

"We want to recognize the hard work that our lawmakers have taken on the issues that are most critical to our members and all older Americans," said AARP New Hampshire State Director Kelly Clark. "Senator Shaheen and others have done so much in the past year to champion causes that are important to the 50-plus population and their families."

In 2004, Medicare spent an estimated $17.4 billion on unnecessary re-hospitalizations. The Medicare Transitional Care Act, which was co-sponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), would help ensure appropriate follow-up care is provided 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. The bill provides for a pilot program where a qualified transitional care clinician would ensure that appropriate follow-up care is provided during the vulnerable time after discharge from a hospital. Services provided may include instructions for patients and caregivers on how and when to take or administer medication; help scheduling and getting to follow-up appointments with doctors; and help coordinating support services, such as meal delivery, transportation, and assistance with other daily activities. Experts estimate the Medicare Transitional Care Act could save up to $5,000 per Medicare beneficiary.

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

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