Including PACE in Dual Eligible Options

Legislators are about to weigh in on one detail of the state’s dual-eligible pilot program known as the Coordinated Care Initiative:  An Assembly bill calling for the inclusion of a popular program for Californians at-risk of nursing home care is up for a vote on the Senate floor.

AB 2206 by Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) would require the Department of Health Care Services to include  PACE  — the Program of All-Inclusive Care For The Elderly — as one of the alternatives to Medi-Cal managed care in the eight counties where the CCI pilot is starting.

The bill cleared its last committee obstacle, the Senate Committee on Appropriations on Monday, on a 7-0 vote. It has now been introduced on the Senate floor and a floor vote on it is expected soon.

“This bill would ensure that the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly is available to beneficiaries whenever managed care enrollment options are presented under the dual-eligible pilot programs,” Atkins said.

The idea, Atkins said, is to make sure beneficiaries know about PACE and the program option is included in all CCI mailings, informational seminars and training.

“PACE programs were designed to keep frail seniors out of nursing homes and keep them living in their communities,” Atkins said. “PACE generates cost savings for Medi-Cal. It is 40% less expensive than the cost of a nursing home.”

The Department of Finance doesn’t have a position on the bill, but has pointed out that the bill would allow managed care enrollees to disenroll from CCI at any time, and that it’s currently unclear whether any changes in enrollment policy might affect the state’s savings from the CCI program.

Atkins said she made minor amendments to the bill before it came before the appropriations committee, to make sure the language aligns with the trailer bill that set up the CCI pilot program.

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