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Without PACE, I would not be able to keep working and care for my mother. Without the day program, I don't think I would have a life. It's wonderful.
"Without PACE, I would not be able to keep working and care for my mother. Without the day program, I don't think I would have a life. It's wonderful."


Virginia Legislation Paves Way
For Faster PACE Enrollments

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed into law legislation that allows for faster enrollment into Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®) by addressing issues in the current clinical eligibility determination process.

The new legislation (HB 702) “will have a meaningful impact for us and the people we serve,” said Craig Connors, chair of the Virginia PACE Alliance. He thanked the National PACE Association for its advocacy and support in getting the legislation passed.

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Team Care and Patient-Centered
Services Benefit Older Adults

Teamwork and the key services of a patient-centered medical home can improve the health of older adults, according to a new survey of adults age 65 and older. The survey found that this care is still relatively uncommon, as just 27 percent of older adults reported receiving these services. However, a large majority (83 percent) of those who receive coordinated care from a team of providers report that team care has improved their health. Even among older adults not currently receiving this type of care, 61 percent say they believe team care would improve their health, and 73 percent want this type of care, the survey found.

The nationally representative survey, which involved more than 1,000 older adults, was conducted on behalf of the John A. Hartford Foundation, which works to improve the health of older Americans.

 

“The weakness of care coordination in our health care system represents a clear and present danger to many older patients, causing avoidable harm, errors, complications, overtreatment and hospital readmissions,” said Christopher Langston, PhD, program director of the foundation. “The fact that older adults say that team care improved their health is very significant. We should build on this finding, improve the model, and make team care available to more patients who can benefit from it.”

“It is crucial that we listen closely to patients,” said David Dorr, MD, associate professor and vice chair of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology at Oregon Health & Science University and co-creator of a medical home model for older patients. “Their input helps us understand the services that really make a difference toward getting better outcomes.

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Implementation of ICD-10
Delayed Until October 1, 2015

The Senate has approved a bill that delays the conversion to the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) until Oct. 1, 2015. The Senate passed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, and the House approved it.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) had been holding firm to an Oct. 1, 2014, deadline for implementing ICD-10 diagnostic and procedure codes. The American Medical Association and other organizations had expressed concerns about the feasibility and costs of meeting the deadline, while the American Hospital Association opposed delaying implementation. Just a month ago, CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner said there would be no extension.

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Kansas Expands PACE
To 51 Additional Counties

Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®) will expand from eight to 59 counties in Kansas, state Department for Aging and Disability Services secretary Shawn Sullivan has announced. 

“PACE will offer eligible individuals in our expansion counties an alternative that allows them to stay in their homes and communities,” Sullivan said. “An estimated 11,900 people in Kansas are clinically and financially eligible for the PACE program. The expansion we are announcing today will allow us to enroll more of those eligible Kansans in PACE and, with the help of PACE, keep those enrolled safely in their communities.”

Until now, PACE was available only to residents of Sedgwick, Shawnee, Douglas, Jackson, Jefferson Osage, Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee counties, serving approximately 377 people. The map below shows the PACE expansion counties and the service provider in those counties.

 

 

“PACE has shown it can enhance the quality of life and independence for older Kansans, maximizing the dignity of and respect for older adults while preserving and supporting their families,” Sullivan said. “It allows them to live in their communities as long as possible. We would like to eventually offer this kind of care in every Kansas county.”

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Ad Thanks Congress for
Bipartisan Support of PACE

Representatives from Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®) across the country attended the 2014 NPA Spring Policy Forum earlier this month in Washington, DC, to learn about policy and regulatory changes affecting their efforts to care for individuals in need of long-term services and supports.

While in the capital, many attendees met with their elected officials to advocate for PACE. Among the advocacy materials they provided during their meetings was an ad that was created to recognize the bipartisan support of Congress and organizations like the John A. Harford Foundation. Their support has enabled PACE to grow to more than 100 programs in 31 states. Continued Congressional support is needed to ensure growth and innovation in the future. 

 

Despite Support, PACE Provision
Not Included in SGR Patch Bill

Legislation that included a provision to test the model of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®) with new populations enjoyed bipartisan, bicameral support. However, Congressional leaders could not agree on ways to offset the costs of the bill. After reaching a stalemate, they jettisoned the long-term fix earlier this month. In its place the House passed a one-year temporary extension, known as the “SGR patch,” that would maintain current physician rates and other existing policies, and the Senate followed suit.

The National PACE Association (NPA) worked for several months to enact legislation that would allow the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to test the PACE model with new populations such as younger people with disabilities, individuals at risk for needing nursing home care, and others. We worked closely with Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE), Patrick Toomey (R-PA), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) to have the provision included in a bill that would permanently revise how physicians are paid under fee-for-service Medicare and extend other expiring Medicare policies. The PACE provision was included in an early draft of the bill and again in a more recent version introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

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Four New PACE Programs Open,
Pushing Nationwide Total over 100


Four new Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®) have opened this year, including three last month, bringing the total number of programs nationwide to 103. The new programs are Blue Ridge PACE, in Charlottesville, VA; Huron Valley PACE, in Ypsilanti Township, MI; Mercy Life, in West Springfield, MA; and Senior Total Life Care in Gastonia, NC.

Opening in March were Blue Ridge PACE, the eighth PACE program to open in Virginia; Huron Valley, which joins six other PACE programs operated at eight sites in Michigan; and Mercy LIFE, the seventh PACE program to open in Massachusetts. Senior Total Life Care, which opened in January, is the ninth PACE program in North Carolina.

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