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National Senior Citizens Day Celebrated August 21 Amid Health Care Reform Debate
Date:8/19/2009

PACE(R) Programs Open Doors to Highlight Their Advanced Care Regimens

WASHINGTON, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In celebration of National Senior Citizens Day, this Friday, August 21(st), the National PACE Association is working with many of the individual Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) around the country to educate their surrounding communities about PACE through health fairs and open houses. Designed to serve individuals over 55 and in need of long term care, PACE programs are integrated care providers that offer beneficiaries all the necessary health, medical, and supportive services they need to remain in their homes and avoid more costly levels of care. In a time when policymakers are looking to reduce health care costs, increase quality outcomes, and improve the delivery of care, PACE is a model that deserves further emulation.

"PACE's model of care has shown that by providing high quality, coordinated care focusing on the health and wellness of each person as an individual, we can achieve dramatic results," said Shawn Bloom, President and CEO of the National PACE Association (NPA). "The health care reform debate is ignoring the vivid examples of excellence that PACE offers in communities all across the country. With 70 programs in operation, I urge seniors, families, and elected officials to visit a PACE program on August 21(st) on National Senior Citizens Day to learn about this unique model of care."

Developed more than 30 years ago, the PACE model of care is paid for by Medicare and Medicaid and provides an innovative alternative to nursing homes. At PACE programs, an integrated team of doctors, nurses, therapists, nutritionists, and others provide medical care and coordinate support services that help keep people in their homes. It is the hands-on, common sense approach and individualized patient attention that makes PACE different from every other long term care option and so successful in helping seniors remain healthy and independent.

PACE's team approach to care and the integration of its delivery system through a care center stands in stark contrast to the way in which most individuals access health care in America today. Each program's PACE Center is a centralized location where beneficiaries meet with their medical team, interact with friends, and eat meals as necessary. Transportation is provided by the program to ensure all participants are fully engaged and taking advantage of everything PACE has to offer.

"Too often Americans of all ages, let alone the seniors PACE serves, are frustrated, scared and confused by the fragmented delivery system of care in the United States," said PACE's Bloom. "For over 30 years, PACE has refined the integration of care so that our members are able to offer consistently high quality, lower cost care through the promotion of health and wellness, supported by timely medical interventions."

"As policymakers debate how to reform health care, PACE is an example of the reforms being considered," continued Bloom. "With a focus on primary care to support health and wellness, and bundled payments to facilitate collaboration among medical professionals, PACE's excellent quality is essential in maintaining maximum function among enrollees so that we can avoid more intense, costly levels of care."

If a participant in PACE is covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid, cost will never be a barrier to receiving the care that is needed and will not vary regardless of one's needs. There are never co-pays or deductibles or increases in cost depending on the level of care or the type of service that is needed. Although enrollees qualify for nursing home care, PACE's quality keeps 93 percent of participants in the community and avoids costly institutionalization. PACE programs must deliver the right care at the right time to manage illnesses and contain costs. Success in meeting this objective allows PACE programs to offer additional services beyond those traditionally covered by Medicare and Medicaid and guarantees there will never be additional costs.

"National Senior Citizens Day is an opportunity for families, older Americans, and elected officials to learn more about 70 Programs of All-inclusive Care that operate across the nation," said Shawn Bloom. "By taking the opportunity to visit a PACE center this Friday or any other day, you will see how these exceptional teams provide the care and services that help our loved ones live at home, and you will learn that pockets of excellence already exist in a nation considering major health care reform."

About NPA:

The National PACE Association works to advance the efforts of Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) to support, maintain, safeguard and promote the provision of quality, comprehensive and cost-effective health care services for frail older adults. More information on NPA and PACE is available at www.npaonline.org. A list of PACE programs can be found at www.pace4you.org.


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SOURCE National PACE Association
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