January 17, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The National PACE Association (NPA) strongly supports the reintroduction of the bipartisan Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN-2) introduced the bill, along with Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12), Mike Kelly (R-PA-16), Doris Matsui (D-CA-6), André Carson (D-IN-7), Brian Higgins (D-NY-26), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA-40), and Scott Peters (D-CA-52).

The legislation is a response by Congress to the ongoing delay by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in releasing the new final rule for Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®).

“We appreciate the continued work of Reps. Blumenauer and Walorski to facilitate an environment conducive to growing and improving the PACE model of care,” said Shawn Bloom, CEO and president of NPA. “A long-held goal of the PACE community is increasing the number of organizations across the country so this comprehensive, integrated program will be available to everyone who could benefit from it. The ongoing absence of an updated rule significantly hinders the ability of PACE to innovate and expand.”

With programs in 31 states, PACE provides care to individuals age 55 and over who qualify for nursing home 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.

After many years of work with NPA and PACE providers, CMS released the Proposed PACE Rule (CMS-4168-P) in 2016 for public comment. More than two years later, a final rule has yet to be issued by CMS. NPA anticipates that the PACE Final Rule will increase operating flexibility and provide increased access to PACE services. Both are critically needed since the current regulations date to 2006. The Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act would require CMS to issue the final rule by April 1.

“We are gratified that Congress listened to our concerns about our outdated regulation and the challenges of serving a high-cost, high-need population under these constraints,” Bloom said.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 people 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. PACE reduces the costs associated with emergency room visits, unnecessary hospital admissions and long-term nursing home placements.

“We appreciate the efforts of members of Congress to come together to help address the needs of older Americans, those living with disabilities, and 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.

Contact Robert Greenwood at RobertG@npaonline.org or 703-535-1522.

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