$4 million program aims to reduce return trips to hospital for Ventura County seniors

For the seniors bending knees and elevating calves in chair exercises, hospital is a bad word.

They talked about fearing initial trips to the hospital, much less sudden return visits. They explained they come here — a darkened room in a Camarillo senior center for an hour of morning exercise — so they don’t have to go there.

“I don’t like them,” said Jim Tsukida, five years removed from a quadruple bypass. “If I don’t come here, I lose my strength.”

A federally funded $4.1 million program that starts May 1 in Ventura County is aimed at placing brakes on the revolving door of hospital care. Part of the federal health care overhaul, the program in Ventura County will use specially trained social workers to help high-risk patients care for themselves. The goal is to stop many seniors from being readmitted to the hospital within one month of discharge.

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