WASHINGTON, April 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced legislation today, the PACE Plus Act, seeking to expand access to Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).

This key bill from the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging embodies one of the recommendations from his 2020 Report: Reimagining Aging in America, namely 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 Chairman Casey’s stalwart, visionary leadership,” said Shawn Bloom, President and CEO of the National PACE Association. “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 care-based solutions (HCBS) , and the Milken Institute, a leading think tank  recommends PACE growth as a solution to the nation’s long term care crisis. PACE was also included specifically in the recently enacted American Rescue Plan’s 10% 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 our person-centered model of care by keeping our 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 by:

  • Facilitating the creation of new PACE programs and the expansion of existing ones through federal grants, as well as providing States with incentives to either adopt the model of care or increase their use of it.
  • Increasing the number of seniors and people with disabilities eligible to receive PACE services.
  • Decreasing 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,” said the Milken Institute report, New Approaches to Long-Term Care Access for Middle-Income Households, from the Institute’s Financial Innovations Lab.

“Central to PACE and its unique value proposition is the interdisciplinary team caring for each patient and the wraparound services provided,” the report said. The report outlined regulatory steps that could be taken to make PACE more accessible to middle-income families. 

NPA’s 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,” Bloom said. “NPA looks forward to working with Chairman. Casey and others to strengthen the long-term care delivery system in the future.”

SOURCE National PACE Association

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