Elderly Health Program Viewed as Model To Cut Costs, Improve Care
State and federal officials are eyeing the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly as a potential model to help cut medical costs and improve care for elderly individuals, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Details of PACE
PACE is a state- and federally funded program designed to help elderly individuals remain in their homes. The program offers assistance with basic living tasks for people who have dementia, a terminal illness or other conditions.
To be eligible for PACE, individuals must be age 55 or older and meet admission criteria for a skilled nursing facility.
Most PACE enrollees are Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries.
California has five PACE organizations that run 18 centers. Nationwide, there are more than 75 PACE organizations that serve about 21,000 individuals.
Looking to PACE as Model
According to the Chronicle, policymakers are examining PACE because state budget cuts have affected services for the elderly and people who have disabilities and because there is increasing interest to reduce costs and improve health care under the federal health reform law.
Studies have shown that PACE organizations can trim hospitalizations and the use of nursing homes while extending people's lives.
Robert Edmondson -- chair of the California PACE Association and CEO of San Francisco-based On Lok Lifeways, which served as an early model for PACE -- said, "The government is looking for a great model that will be efficient and provide high-quality care."
PACE officials say that the program can incur high startup costs and be highly regulated. Meanwhile, some health experts also note that more studies are needed to determine if PACE is less costly than skilled nursing facilities.
The program also is more expensive than traditional Medicare and Medicare managed care plans, according to the Chronicle (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.