February 18, 2022

Bill Would Provide Greater Access to Programs of All Inclusive Care for The Elderly, An Alternative to Nursing Home Care

House Companion to S. 1162,  

Introduced by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman, Senate Special Committee on Aging

WASHINGTON, DC – The National PACE Association commends U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (D- MI12) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR 3) for introducing The PACE Plus Act (H.R. 6770), which would expand access to Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). A Senate version of the bill, S. 1162, was introduced by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Special Committee on Aging, last year.

PACE programs provide a higher quality of life and better outcomes for seniors needing a nursing home level of care by providing comprehensive, integrated and coordinated medical care and long-term care services and supports (LTSS) around the clock enabling them to live independently in their homes and communities

“The National PACE Association is deeply grateful to Representative Dingell for her strong leadership on this issue and continued stalwart support of PACE,” said Shawn Bloom, President and CEO of the National PACE Association. “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 all medical and LTSS needs at home and in the community.”

The PACE Plus Act would bolster the PACE model of care by:

  • Facilitating the creation of new PACE programs and the expansion of existing ones through federal grants, as well as providing States with incentives to either adopt the model of care or increase their use of it.
  •  Increasing the number of seniors and people with disabilities eligible to receive PACE services.
  • Decreasing the bureaucratic burden experienced by growing PACE programs seeking to open additional centers within their geographic services areas or expand their geographic services areas.
  • Directing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center to implement PACE-specific pilots so that new ways of utilizing the care model can be tested and evaluated.

PACE programs use an interdisciplinary team approach to keep older Americans with both complex, chronic conditions and LTSS needs as healthy as while living independently in their own homes. PACE enrollees typically receive care at home and in the PACE, center including primary care, therapies, meals, socialization and medication management, transportation to the PACE center and other appointments, and any other care or service needed to maintain their highest level of functioning.

Despite the pandemic, PACE programs have demonstrated the strength of our person-centered model of care by keeping our enrollees safe at home-- the rates of COVID-19 infection and death among PACE enrollees were one-third of those incurred by nursing home residents.

A recent report conducted by the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), entitled “Comparing Outcomes for Dual Eligible Beneficiaries in Integrated Care” found: “[t]he PACE program, known for its focus on HCBS provision and full integration of a range of medical services and LTSS, stands out from our analysis as a consistently ‘high performer.’ We found that full-benefit dual eligible beneficiaries in PACE are significantly less likely to be hospitalized, to visit the ED, or be institutionalized, while their mortality risk is not significantly higher, compared to regular MA enrollees.”

Earlier this year, the Milken Institute, a leading think tank, recommends PACE growth as a solution to the nation’s long term care crisis .“Americans often underestimate the type and level of care they will need as they age, specifically the services and supports necessary to maintain the essential functions of daily life,” said the Milken Institute report, New Approaches to Long-Term Care Access for Middle-Income Households, from the Institute’s Financial Innovations Lab.

“Central to PACE and its unique value proposition is the interdisciplinary team caring for each patient and the wraparound services provided,” the report said. The report outlined regulatory steps that could be taken to make PACE more accessible to middle-income families. 

NPA’s Bloom welcomed the bill and the recognition from the private and public sectors, such as the HHS and Milken reports, that the PACE model is a solution. 

“NPA strongly believes The PACE Plus Act, if enacted, will help many more Americans realize the potential of PACE to keep their loved one safely at home through the broad range of personalized medical and LTSS services provided through the care model,” Bloom said. “NPA looks forward to continue working with Representative Dingell, Chairman Casey and others to strengthen our nation’s the long-term care delivery system.”

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.

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