A program designed to help some senior citizens avoid quick return trips to the hospital is expanding from the Baton Rouge area to Lafayette, Hammond and Covington.

The federally funded program is aimed at reducing Medicare costs by stopping revolving door hospital admissions. The idea is to curb health care spending and keep chronically ill patients healthier.

At the heart of the program is a "health coach" who works with patients so they have the information essential to their well-being when they are discharged from the hospital.

Lafayette, Hammond, and Covington areas were chosen for the project expansion because of the concentration of Medicare patients age 65 and above.