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What is PACE and How Can it Help Your Loved One?

The Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) model is centered around the belief that it is better for the well-being of seniors with chronic care needs and their families to be served in the community whenever possible.

PACE serves individuals who are age 55 or older, certified by their state to need nursing home care, are able to live safely in the community at the time of enrollment, and live in a PACE service area. Although all PACE participants must be certified to need nursing home care to enroll in PACE, only about seven percent of PACE participants nationally reside in a nursing home. If a PACE enrollee does need nursing home care, the PACE program pays for it and continues to coordinate the enrollee's care.

Services Provided By PACE

Delivering all needed medical and supportive services, the program is able to provide the entire continuum of care and services to seniors with chronic care needs while maintaining their independence in their homes for as long as possible. Care and services include the following:

  • Adult day care that offers nursing; physical, occupational and recreational therapies; meals; nutritional counseling; social work and personal care
  • Medical care provided by a PACE physician familiar with the history, needs and preferences of each participant
  • Home health care and personal care
  • All necessary prescription drugs
  • Social services
  • Medical specialists such as audiology, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, and speech therapy
  • Respite care
  • Hospital and nursing home care when necessary

Questions that families frequently ask about PACE

How do people qualify for PACE?

In order to be eligible for PACE, a person must be aged 55 or older, certified by the state to need nursing home care, and live in an area served by a PACE program.

Are prescription drugs covered?

Yes. All prescription and non-prescription drugs deemed necessary by the PACE interdisciplinary care team are paid for by the PACE program.

Are people who do not qualify for Medicaid eligible for PACE?

Yes. If a person meets the income and assets limits to qualify for Medicaid, the program pays for a portion of the monthly PACE premium. Medicare pays for the rest. If a person does not qualify for Medicaid, he or she is responsible for the portion of the monthly premium Medicaid would pay. PACE staff can help determine a person's Medicaid eligibility.

How do people get to the day health center?

PACE programs provide transportation to the day health center. Transportation is a key part of the PACE benefit. Transportation is not only provided between the home and the day health center, but also to appointments with specialists and other activities.

Do PACE participants attend the day health center every day?

No. On average, PACE participants attend the day center three times a week. Day center attendance is based on individual needs and can range from once a week, or every month, to several days a week, as needed.

What happens if a PACE participant needs nursing home care?

The goal of PACE is to keep participants out of a nursing home as long as possible. If at some point it is in the best interest of the participant to receive care in a nursing home, PACE will pay for the care, and the supervision of the interdisciplinary team will continue.

What happens if a person wants to leave PACE?

A PACE participant is free to disenroll from PACE and resume their benefits in the traditional Medicare and Medicaid programs at any time.

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