SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Studies show the number of Californians age 65 and older is expected to double in the coming years, and California's state-certified model Programs of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) are answering to the call with projects underway to increase enrollment that will fill critical voids in senior care in key areas of the state.
But while PACE organizations in Southern California, the Bay Area, Sacramento region, and Inland Empire are forging ahead with their expansion plans, they admit further threats to funding could stunt future growth.
"Since its inception more than 40 years ago, PACE has experienced steady growth as we perfected the model of coordinated, team-based interdisciplinary care that has become the gold standard now of the state's own Coordinated Care Initiative," said Peter Hansel, Executive Director, CalPACE. "As a result of the state budget downturn, PACE organizations were hit by sharp rate cuts in 2012 and 2013 but we are hopeful the improved budget situation will produce better rates starting in 2014. Current projects underway depend on our members' ability to receive adequate rates from the state. This is the time to support our parents, grandparents and great grandparents as they age and require more care, not walk away from them."
"PACE organizations are doing their best to meet the growing need for senior care in the face of the tremendous fiscal difficulties resulting from state budget cuts and payment reductions," added Robert Edmondson, Chief Executive Officer, On Lok, and chair, CalPACE Board of Directors. "What makes our programs so unique is that we provide superior health services and social supports for qualified low-income individuals over 55 years with chronic illness that extend beyond anything they could find anywhere else. We treat elders like family, and our integrated, team-based approach to keeping them living as independently as possible in their homes and communities is held up as a model program of senior care—one we wish to continually expand and build on as more Californians seek our comprehensive array of services as they move into long-term care."
PACE projects underway, that hinge on continued funding, include:
- A new AltaMed Health Services PACE center in South Los Angeles that is projected to open in the second quarter of 2014 to serve the predominantly African American and Latino population. It will be the first senior care center that will address desperately needed health care services for elders in the depressed Watts area, with job opportunities to enhance economic development. Care will be provided for up to 400 seniors who will receive primary care, adult day care, laboratory diagnostic services, meals and physical and occupational services.
- AltaMed is also poised to open a second PACE Center in Covina next year with similar services as in South LA. Like the Watts center, the Covina PACE site will serve up to 400 individuals age 55 years and older and fulfill unmet health needs for many new Latino, African American and Vietnamese families moving into the area seeking care for their elders.
- The Los Angeles Jewish Home (LAJH) reports since its Brandman Centers for Senior Care (BCSC) PACE program started serving frail seniors in the San Fernando Valley in February 2013, enrollment has grown to 70 participants. By coordinating and providing its participants with necessary medical services (including primary and specialty care, transportation, dental, vision, physical therapy, meals and more), BCSC /PACE has kept every new participant from being readmitted to a hospital during the first year of operation. Over the next several years, the LAJH plans to open 5 PACE sites serving 1500-2000 frail seniors.
- CalOptima opened its first PACE center in October in Garden Grove, with a 23,650 square foot community-based program that provides comprehensive medical care and social services to frail seniors in a single location. The new center will accommodate a maximum of 250 enrollees with an anticipated daily attendance of 130 participants.
- St. Paul's PACE is strengthening its presence in San Diego County by adding a second shift to accommodate more patients at its downtown location and partnering with a Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS) program to draw additional participants from the East County area to its two area facilities. It is also seeking federal approval to use Alternative Care Settings for services and to supplement its existing medical staff by contracting with community-based physicians to attract seniors wishing to retain their existing doctors. St Paul's Pace also plans to expand into Imperial County if State rates allow.
- An InnovAge PACE Center is poised to open in the first quarter of 2014 in the City of San Bernardino that will provide the full complement of PACE health and support services to more than 2,000 seniors at full capacity and up to 400 individuals age 55 and older in the first year alone. The center will be staffed by an interdisciplinary medical, therapeutic and caregiver team that will work with elders on a daily basis and transport participants as well.
- On Lok's PACE program, On Lok Lifeways, which serves more than 1,275 frail seniors in San Francisco, Alameda and Santa Clara Counties and is the model for PACE programs nationally, is responding to an increased demand for services in the South Bay. It recently purchased an Adult Day Health Care center that will be open in 2014 to serve up to 70 low-income, medically needy seniors per day in East San Jose. On Lok Lifeways also has formed innovative partnerships with local adult day health care and adult day care providers to expand its service capacity.
- The Center for Elders' Independence (CEI) is aligning with the local initiative health plan in anticipation of the launch of the Coordinated Care Initiative demonstration program in Alameda to assess how PACE can help serve more dually eligible Medi-Cal and Medicare participants. CEI also seeks to further expand its Oakland-based PACE program to care for more elders in Hayward and beyond, and to potentially add a second shift to increase the number of participants served in its existing East Bay centers as well.
- Sutter SeniorCare PACE increased the number of participates it serves in 2013 by nearly 15 percent. As a result, it recently contracted with an Adult Day Health Care site to expand upon the services provided by its two existing centers. The program also implemented the use of nurse practitioners to assist physicians in the medical clinic and continues to strengthen its relationships with outside agencies and organizations throughout the Sacramento Valley in an effort to provide care to the region's frailest population.
PACE organizations provide participants with all the care and services covered by Medicare and Medi-Cal, as authorized by an Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) of health professionals, as well as services not typically covered by Medicare and Medi-Cal. A unique feature of the PACE program, the IDT is the centerpiece of what makes the PACE model of care so special. Working together on-site at California PACE centers, health professionals provide continuous monitoring of PACE participants' health and social status and coordinate all aspects of their care. IDTs provide the necessary and appropriate preventive, rehabilitative and support services at PACE centers as well as in participants' homes, hospitals and nursing homes, depending on the participant's needs.