September 1, 2021

ALEXANDRIA, VA – September is National PACE Month, celebrating the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®). The innovative model of care allows seniors with long-term care needs to remain living in their community for as long as possible, as independently as possible. More than 95 percent of PACE participants live outside of a nursing home.

“This year, we celebrate National PACE Month as we work to recover from the historic COVID-19 pandemic, which provides us a unique perspective to celebrate the original development of the PACE model of care and envision a future where every American will have access to PACE,” said Shawn Bloom, president and CEO of the National PACE Association (NPA).

2021 also marks the 50th anniversary of On Lok, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco that developed the PACE model of care and continues to offer On Lok PACE in San Francisco and Santa Clara counties and the tri-city area of Alameda County.

On Lok helped expand the PACE model across the country, forming the National PACE Association in 1994 and supporting the initial group of PACE replication sites. This successful replication of the model laid the groundwork for federal legislation that made PACE a permanent part of the Medicare program and an option for state Medicaid programs in 1997.

On Lok recently launched “50 Stories,” a social media campaign featuring a collection of stories that tell the history of On Lok and PACE.

“On Lok’s focus to honor seniors and keep them connected to their family and community as they aged led to the successful, innovative PACE model, which demonstrates how long-term care can be provided in America,” said Bloom. “Seniors no longer have to leave their community to receive services since PACE created a network of supports and services that enables them to keep their relationships and activities at the center of their lives.”

The value of the PACE model of care has been reinforced by the experience of PACE participants during the pandemic. The incidence of PACE participants contracting or dying from COVID-19 was one-third the rate of nursing home residents.

The pandemic was disruptive and challenging for all Americans, but the PACE model of care demonstrated its value as a flexible system of care that can adapt to serve the need of individual participants.

The pandemic has forced the country to look at the way long-term care is provided in a new light. In the search for 21st century alternatives to nursing homes, PACE stands as a proven model that is more affordable, provides better care, and helps individuals achieve their highest quality of life.

“Fifty years ago, the leaders of On Lok were far ahead of their time,” Bloom said. “Now the time is right to demand more from our long-term care delivery system. PACE is ready to help every community meet that challenge.”

More than 55,000 seniors are enrolled in PACE today, with 140 PACE organizations operating in 30 states. The eligibility criteria for PACE include being age 55 or over, qualifying for a nursing home level of care as defined by the state, living in a PACE service area, and having the ability to live safely in the community at the time of enrollment with the help of PACE services.

Seniors and family members can search for a PACE program in their community by visiting www.pace4you.org.

About National PACE Association

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.

About On Lok

On Lok is a nonprofit organization that empowers older adults to age with dignity and independence. With 50 years of experience, On Lok is a trusted resource in San Francisco, Santa Clara County, and the tri-city area of Alameda County. On Lok founded and operates the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which allows eligible seniors to live at home for as long as possible by providing comprehensive medical care and social services. On Lok 30th Street Senior Center, the largest multipurpose senior center in San Francisco, provides a second home, health programs, activities and case management services to active seniors. The On Lok Mission Nutrition Program provides more than 250,000 meals annually to seniors through its dining locations and meal delivery program. For more information, visit www.onlok.org.

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