PACE could expand to serve younger people

A President Barack Obama’s proposed 2016 budget includes a provision that would expand the Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) to serve younger individuals with disabilities, and the National PACE Association (NPA) is applauding the move.

“We are encouraged to see the president’s proposed budget reflect our goal to grow and innovate the PACE model of care,” Shawn Bloom, president and CEO of NPA, said in a statement. “It is a testament to the decades of quality care our members have delivered to their frail and elderly enrollees.”

Right now, PACE serves those aged at least 55 years who qualify for nursing home care. Under the PACE model, an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals provides and manages care in the community, rather than in a nursing home, for as long as possible. Currently, 108 organizations sponsor PACE in 32 states, serving about 34,000 enrollees, according to the organization.

Implementing the PACE model for new populations might require a change in team composition as well as other changes, Bloom said. A key part of serving the older population is providing adult day services at PACE centers, but “younger enrollees may need vocational training or opportunities for recreation and socialization in the evening,” he added. One alternative model created under demonstration authority could serve individuals aged 18 to 54 years.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) “has greater opportunities to support pilot projects under the Affordable Care Act,” Bloom said. “We hope to see CMS provide opportunities for states and providers to apply to develop PACE-like demonstration models later this year.”

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