February 10, 2022

Sens. Bob Casey and Tim Scott Introduce PACE Expanded Act to Increase Access to Medical Care for Seniors

WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), chair of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Ranking Member, introduced the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Expanded Act of 2022 in the U.S. Senate this morning to accelerate the capacity and reach of the existing 144 PACE organizations and spur the establishment of new ones. The National PACE Association (NPA) applauded their action.

“Millions of Americans are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, but the systems are so fragmented and complex, it often leads to gaps in care,” said Sen. Casey. “My bill with Sen. Scott, the PACE Expanded Act, would streamline services and enable people with a high level of need to stay in the community rather than receiving care in a nursing home. Older Americans and people with disabilities should not face obstacles to get the care they need, when they need it, in the setting they prefer.”

“Individuals who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid have some of the greatest health needs in our nation, yet they are often left with fragmented care,” said Ranking Member Scott. “As ranking member of the Senate Aging Committee, I’m committed to ensuring our most vulnerable populations receive the care they need. Expanding PACE to more seniors in need will help do just that.”

PACE empowers older Americans and those with disabilities to live at home and in their communities despite being eligible for nursing home care. All their health care, long-term care services and supports (LTSS), nutrition, transportation and any other needs are identified in an individualized care plan by a dedicated interdisciplinary team. This team also is responsible for providing all care and services noted in the care plan around the clock or contracting with outside entities to provide needed services and care. PACE participants receive care and services such as primary care, LTSS, medications, meals and peer socialization in their homes and at the local PACE center.

“The National PACE Association is grateful to Chairman Casey and Ranking Member Scott for their strong leadership on this issue,” said Shawn Bloom, president and CEO of NPA. “Given the rapidly rising numbers of aging Americans and their clear desire to age in place, it is imperative for our nation to encourage the growth of PACE, a holistic model of care well equipped to meet their needs at home and in the community.”

The PACE Expanded Act would facilitate increasing the scale and spread of current PACE organizations and developing new ones by doing the following:

  • alleviating bureaucratic burdens experienced by PACE programs applying to CMS to increase their capacities or expand their geographic service areas,
  • enabling eligible older adults to enroll in PACE at any time in the month,
  • testing the PACE model of care with new populations currently ineligible to participate, and
  • increasing the affordability of PACE for eligible Medicare-only beneficiaries.

The emphasis on PACE is warranted as it was highlighted as a consistently “high performer” in a recent analysis of integrated care models by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Office of Behavioral Health, Disability and Aging Policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The study found that "full-benefit, dual-eligible beneficiaries in PACE are significantly less likely to be hospitalized, visit the emergency department, or be institutionalized” compared to the control group.

The PACE Expanded Act comes after the U.S. House of Representatives included $150 billion in additional Medicaid funding for home- and community-based services, such as PACE, in the Build Back Better Act late last year. The Senate is likely to consider a similar provision later this spring.

Bloom welcomed the bill and the increasing recognition that PACE growth and expansion should be encouraged so more older adults and those living with disabilities can receive the care and services they need where they want to be. “The PACE Expanded Act, if enacted, will help many more Americans realize the potential of PACE to provide long-term care in the community so they can remain living safely at home,” he said. “NPA looks forward to working with Chairman Casey, Ranking Member Scott and others to strengthen the ability of PACE to play a greater role in our nation’s long-term care delivery system in the future.”

The National PACE Association (NPA) works to advance the efforts of PACE programs, which coordinate and provide preventive, primary, acute and long-term care services so older individuals can continue living in the community. The PACE model of care is centered on the belief that it is better for the well-being of seniors with chronic care needs and their families to be served in the community whenever possible. For more information, visit www.NPAonline.org and follow @TweetNPA.

Contact:  

David Harrison  
410-804-1728  
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