April 15, 2021

As President Biden Proposes Increased Funding for HCBS and New Report Recommends Expansion of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly

April 15, 2021 – WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) today introduced legislation called the PACE Plus Act (S.1162) that seeks to expand access to Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). This key bill from the chair of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging embodies a recommendation from his 2020 report on Reimagining Aging in America that Congress should bolster the development of additional PACE programs and expand eligibility of enrollment to allow for a greater number of people requiring in-home supports to be eligible to receive care in their homes and communities.

“The National PACE Association applauds Sen. Casey’s stalwart, visionary leadership,” said Shawn Bloom, president and CEO of the National PACE Association (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 bill comes as President Biden’s infrastructure proposal includes $400 billion for home- and community-based services (HCBS) and the Milken Institute, a leading think tank, recommends PACE growth as a solution to the nation’s long-term care crisis. PACE also was included in the recently enacted American Rescue Plan, which calls for a 10 percent increase in state matching funds for HCBS.

PACE programs use a team approach to keep older Americans with long-term care needs healthy and cared for around the clock while living independently in their own homes. PACE enrollees typically receive care at home; utilize a PACE center for socializing, medication management and physician visits; 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 this person-centered model of care by keeping enrollees safe at home. The rates of COVID-19 infection and death among PACE enrollees has been just one-third of those for nursing home residents.

The PACE Plus Act would bolster the PACE model of care in the following ways:

  • facilitate the creation of new PACE programs and the expansion of existing ones through federal grants and provide states with incentives to adopt the model of care or increase their use of it;
  • increase the number of seniors and people with disabilities eligible to receive PACE services; and
  • decrease the bureaucratic burden experienced by growing PACE programs and providing additional technical assistance resources.

“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,” according to a new report by the Financial Innovations Lab of the Milken Institute titled New Approaches to Long-Term Care Access for Middle-Income Households. “Central to PACE and its unique value proposition is the interdisciplinary team caring for each patient and the wrap-around services provided."

The report outlined regulatory steps that could be taken to make PACE more accessible to middle-income families. 

Bloom welcomed the bill and the recognition from the private and public sectors, such as the Milken Report, that the PACE model is a solution. “We believe The PACE Plus Act, if enacted, will help many more Americans realize the potential of PACE to provide long-term care while keeping their loved one safely at home,” he said. “NPA looks forward to working with Sen. Casey and others to strengthen the long-term care delivery system in the future.”

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David Harrison

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