Medicare sets new patient safety goals for hospitals

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Medicare is setting new goals for keeping hospitalized patients safe and reducing readmissions after patients are discharged.

Hospitalization can be hazardous to your health, with risks like medication errors, falls and infections. And a lack of follow-through after patients are discharged can sometimes land them right back in the hospital.

A concerted effort by Medicare and hospitals around the country since 2010 has led to substantial progress reducing both problems. Medicare officials on Thursday announced new goals for greater improvement.

For example, Medicare wants to reduce preventable medical problems in hospitals from 121 per 1,000 patients discharged, to 97 per 1,000 by 2019.

Medicare announced that it is awarding $347 million to hospital associations and other health organizations that will help meet the new goals.

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