MIAMI (AP) — Florida hospital officials say patients who have been hospitalized recently are 15 percent less likely to be readmitted as hospitals around the country try to improve quality and save money under the Affordable Care Act. Tuesday's report from the Florida Hospital Association comes five years after the state ranked among the worst in the nation for poor health outcomes and high costs.

More than 100 Florida hospitals have saved $25 million in two years and prevented 1,500 readmissions. Surgical complications were reduced by 14.5 percent, saving more than $6 million during a 15-month period at 67 hospitals. Blood stream infections were down 41 percent and urinary tract infections are down 37 percent, saving more than $16 million in reduced costs according to the report.

Medicare officials announced last year they would punish hospitals with hefty fines if they have too many readmissions within 30-days for heart failure, heart attack and pneumonia patients by reducing a portion of the hospital's payments by up to one percent. Under the health care law, the penalties gradually will rise until 3 percent of Medicare payments to hospitals are at risk and will also include hip and knee surgery and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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