Most seniors want to be able to stay at home as long as they can instead of moving into a nursing home. The little-known Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE) provides care and services to some nursing home-eligible seniors to enable them to remain in their home far longer than they might otherwise be able to do.
To be eligible for PACE, participants must be at least 55 years old, qualify for Medicare or Medicaid (or both), live in a PACE service area, and be certified as eligible for nursing home care by the state. If a senior decides to join PACE, the program becomes the sole provider of Medicaid and Medicare services. PACE provides a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, personal care attendants, and dieticians to assist each senior. All the care is centralized in an adult health center and supplemented by in-home and referral services. Other covered services include adult day care, dentistry, and prescription drugs. In addition, PACE provides transportation to the health center or to doctor's appointments in other locations.
PACE also provides meals and social activities along with other non-medical care. According to an article in the New York Times for example, the PACE program in New York City will fix an air conditioner during a heat wave or provide food during a snowtorm. The focus is on preventative care and avoiding hospitilization.
PACE has a monthly premium, but how much the senior pays will depend on the senior's financial situation. All Medicare services are covered and Medicare covers a portion of the PACE program's premium. If the senior meets the income and resource limits to qualify for Medicaid, then the senior will either have a small payment or the entire premium will be covered.
PACE has been around since the 1970s and has been shown to reduce hospitlizations, emergency room visits, and nursing home stays, but it is still not well known. There are currently 144 PACE centers operating in 30 states, and higher federal incentives for the program means that more programs are opening up.
To find out if there is a PACE program near you, click here.
To find out more about PACE, click here.