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New program to curb hospital return visits may burden smaller ones in poorer areas

"Eight California hospitals — including four in the Los Angeles area — are among the institutions paying the maximum fine under a new Medicare program designed to reduce high patient readmission rates. Under the 2010 federal Affordable Care Act, the federal government has started fining hospitals with high readmissions rates as much as 1 percent of the money that Medicare would normally reimburse them. Working to reduce runaway costs, Medicare is now penalizing hospitals across California and nationwide for patients who must be admitted again within 30 days," according to an investigation by KPCC.

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