PACE’s goal is to cocoon the frail elderly, and disabled people over 55, in a web of services, thereby allowing most of them to live at home and make their own choices.
If you (or loved ones over age 55) are struggling with health issues, and yet trying to avoid long-term nursing home care, you may want to investigate a little-known program called PACE – Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly. PACE is an optional benefit under both Medicare and Medicaid that focuses entirely on older people who are frail enough to meet their State’s standards for nursing home care. It features comprehensive medical and social services that can be provided at an adult day health center, home, and/or inpatient facilities. This comprehensive service package permits most patients to continue living at home while receiving services.
PACE may, however, be one of the best-kept secrets in the field of elder care. According to a recent article in the Providence (Rhode Island) Journal, PACE programs currently serve only about 22,000 people nationwide. Note: PACE is available only in states that have chosen to offer it under Medicaid.
PACE’s financing arrangement allows for a great deal of flexibility. Medicare and Medicaid both pay a set amount of money for each patient, instead of reimbursing for each service and specifying which services are covered. PACE, then, has the freedom to use the money in whatever way best serves the patients’ needs. This could include things that are not normally paid for by Medicare, such as an air conditioner for an asthma patient.
PACE teams include primary care physicians and nurses; physical, occupational and recreational therapists; social workers; personal care attendants; dietitians; and drivers.
Also, be sure to visit our website for more information about elder law and long-term care.