September 12, 2018

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The U.S. House of Representatives took decisive action today to address the needs of an increasing number of American families who are straining to provide long-term care to loved ones by passing the Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act (H.R. 6561). Congressional leaders long have seen greater access to Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®) as a key component to improving care for older adults and those with disabilities. The legislation, which passed by unanimous voice vote, directs the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue the final PACE regulation by Dec. 31.

“NPA expects the PACE final rule to provide much-needed flexibility, in contrast to current PACE regulations, which will allow PACE to grow faster and to operate more efficiently," said NPA president and CEO Shawn Bloom. “We applaud the House of Representatives for passing this critically important legislation. In particular, we commend the strong leadership of Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN-2), who sponsored H.R. 6561, and the original co-sponsors, Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-2), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12), Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Christopher Smith (R-NJ-4), Ron Kind (D-WI-3), and Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12), as well as co-sponsors Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ-2), and Joseph Kennedy (D-MA-4) and Ways and Means Committee chair Kevin Brady (R-TX-8) and ranking member Richard Neal (D-MA-1).”

PACE is a unique, fully integrated model of care that combines Medicare, Medicaid and private funding to provide a community-based option for individuals who qualify for a nursing home level of care. An interdisciplinary team of providers coordinates and delivers person-centered care in the home, the PACE center and other community settings.

“We are committed to growing PACE as quickly as possible,” Bloom said. “The model of care allows individuals to live autonomously in the community for as long as possible, where they have the highest quality of life.” Currently, 95 percent of PACE enrollees live outside of a nursing home. 

Since becoming a permanent provider type within the Medicare and Medicaid programs in 1997, the PACE model of care has demonstrated its efficacy in providing a full continuum of high-quality acute care, long-term care, and other services and supports to some of our nation’s most vulnerable populations. However, PACE has not been able to innovate very quickly because of its outdated regulations, which were first enacted 12 years ago. The new PACE regulations are expected to result in several innovations that have proved to be successful by individual PACE organizations through a waiver process.

Currently, 124 PACE organizations operate more than 250 PACE centers in 31 states. Over 45,000 individuals are enrolled in PACE. 

The updated PACE regulations are expected to facilitate the process of PACE organizations contracting with community primary care providers, customize the interdisciplinary team for each enrollee, and streamline the delivery of services outside the enrollee’s home or PACE center. 

A companion bill to the House legislation was introduced in the Senate on Aug. 1. Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) introduced the bill, and co-sponsors are Pat Toomey (R-PA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

NPA greatly appreciates all of the members of Congress who support this legislation.

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The National PACE Association (NPA) works to advance the efforts of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®). PACE programs coordinate and provide all needed 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 the NPA website at www.npaonline.org and follow @TweetNPA.
 

For more information, contact Robert Greenwood by email or at 703-535-1522. 

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