September 5, 2018

ALEXANDRIA, VA – National PACE Association President and CEO Shawn Bloom sent a letter endorsing the Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act of 2018, H.R. 6561, to U.S. House Ways & Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX-8) and Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA-1). The committee will hold a mark-up on the bill tomorrow. 

With programs in 31 states, PACE provides care to individuals age 55 and over who qualify for a nursing home level of care. PACE is the most successful model for keeping individuals out of nursing homes and in the community, where they enjoy a higher quality of life, remain connected to the community and receive care in the most cost-effective way.

The Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act of 2018is a direct response by Congress to the ongoing delay by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in releasing the new PACE Final Rule. After many years of work with NPA and PACE providers, CMS released the Proposed PACE Rule (CMS-4168-P) in August 2016 for public comment. More than two years later, the Final Rule has yet to be issued by CMS. NPA anticipates that the Final Rule will increase operating flexibility and provide increased access to PACE services—both of which are critically needed, since the current regulations date to 2006. H.R. 6561 would require CMS to finalize the PACE Final Rule by December 31, 2018. 

“We appreciate leaders in Congress supporting our efforts to expand the number of individuals who can benefit from the unique PACE model of care,” said Shawn Bloom, president and CEO of the National PACE Association (NPA). “NPA and PACE organizations have been working for years to obtain greater flexibility in the PACE regulations to help PACE grow faster, provide care more efficiently and reach additional people.”

 “Further, we are gratified that Congress listened to our concerns about our outdated regulation and the challenges of serving our high-cost, high-need population under these constraints,” Bloom said.  “With greater flexibility, PACE providers can play an even larger role in meeting the needs of our aging society.” 

PACE programs enable those whose health conditions qualify them for nursing home care to remain in the community for as long as possible through the services and supports provided through the program. More than 95 percent of PACE enrollees live in the community. Additionally, PACE reduces the costs associated with emergency room visits, unnecessary hospital admissions and long-term nursing home placements.

 “A long-held goal of the PACE community is expanding the model, so it is available to everyone who could benefit from it,” Bloom said. “It is a testament to the hard work of our membership to see CMS support new opportunities opening up to expand PACE.”

This summer, Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN-2 ) introduced H.R. 6561 in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 26, joined by original cosponsors Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-2), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12), Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Chris Smith (R-NJ-4), Ron Kind (D-WI-2) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI12). S. 3338, the companion bill in the Senate, was introduced by Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) on August 1 and cosponsored by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA). Additional cosponsors to H.R. 6561 and S. 3338 are Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ-2), and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) respectively. NPA sincerely applauds the strong leadership of the legislation’s sponsors, Rep. Walorski and Sen. Carper, as well as the cosponsors.

“We appreciate the bipartisan efforts of members of Congress to come together to help address the needs of older Americans and those living with disabilities as well as their families,” Bloom said. 

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.

 

 

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