Gary and Mary West PACE Opens in San Diego North County

October 10, 2019

A Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®) has come to North County of San Diego with the official ribbon-cutting ceremony today for the nonprofit Gary and Mary West PACE in San Marcos, CA. Established with a grant from the Gary and Mary West Foundation, the nearly 20,000-square foot center offers high-quality, comprehensive and coordinated health care, social services and support for vulnerable seniors with chronic care needs who want to successfully age in place rather than in a nursing home.

PACE is a model of person-centered care that has been shown to reduce rates of emergency room visits, unnecessary hospital admissions and long-term nursing home placements and reduce the cost of care and the strain on family caregivers. More than 90 percent of PACE participants are able to successfully remain in their homes and communities. Many live longer, are more socially engaged, and have a better quality of life than those in nursing homes or other institutional settings.

“Our goal, privilege and responsibility is to help low-income seniors live as independently as possible for as long as possible in their own homes, while also providing much needed support to their family caregivers,” said Shelley Lyford, president and CEO of the Gary and Mary West Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in San Diego that is dedicated to lowering health care costs to enable successful aging for seniors.

Gary and Mary West PACE provides a wide range of services, including adult day programs, medical care, social services, dentistry, home care, and physical, occupational and speech therapy. Transportation to and from the center and outside medical appointments is provided, as well as social activities, meals, pharmacy, long-term services and supports, and caregiver training and support groups. All services are managed by an interdisciplinary care team to ensure the coordination of care and clear communication to participants and their families.

Gary and Mary West PACE is among the first programs in the nation to have a co-located, state-of-the-art dental facility, serving both PACE participants and area seniors. The Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center offers comprehensive oral health care services from specialists trained in geriatric dentistry, including oral exams, cleanings, fillings, treatment for gum disease, extractions and dentures.

“The Gary and Mary West PACE program was specifically created to be the gold standard by which all PACE programs will be measured,” said executive director Renata Smith. “We are thrilled to bring the program to North County seniors and their families and take our place as a vital member of this community. So often individuals and families who have health care needs experience a fractured, hard-to-navigate health care system. PACE is just the opposite. In PACE the interdisciplinary team is the ’heartbeat’ of the program that sets it apart from other care delivery models. We have had numerous enrollees and their families tell us how PACE has positively impacted their lives.”

Medicare and Medi-Cal reimburse PACE for care. If participants are enrolled in Medicare and Medi-Cal, they will pay nothing, or they will pay their Medi-Cal “share of cost.” The program also accepts people enrolled only in Medi-Cal and people who want to pay privately. Thousands of seniors in the area may be eligible for enrollment.

“Every community in the United States could benefit from a PACE,” said Tim Lash, president of Gary and Mary West PACE. “The rapidly growing senior population in California and across the country will put enormous strain on our current fragmented, and often inefficient, health care delivery system and increase the demand for senior-appropriate health and supportive services. We are committed to increasing access to programs like PACE through the launch of our program in North County San Diego and through collaborative efforts at the national level to ensure seniors are able to access the care they need.”

In 2017 the National PACE Association launched PACE 2.0, an initiative to expand access to PACE for many complex high-need, high-cost populations across the country, with the goal of innovating the PACE model to serve more seniors and other individuals with high-care needs. The PACE 2.0 project is supported by the West Health Policy Center and The John A. Hartford Foundation.

The West PACE Center is located at 1706 Descanso Ave., San Marcos, CA 92078. Learn more about the program and eligibility requirements online at westpace.org or call 760-280-2230.

Inspired by its founders and sole funders, Gary and Mary West, the Gary and Mary West Foundation is dedicated to lowering health care costs to increase access to high-quality, affordable models of care that enable seniors to age in place successfully. As part of the West Health family of nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations based in San Diego and Washington DC, the foundation works with its Institute and policy center using philanthropy, applied medical research, policy and advocacy to transform health care across America.

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