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Last week, I attended a seminar for elder law attorneys on an innovative program for senior care. The model has been around for almost 30 years, and Medicare and Medicaid funding has been available for the program since 1992. Yet few of us have our clients in the program. Indeed, only about 15,000 seniors across the country have enrolled.
I’m talking about the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE. The program’s aim is to foster the independence, dignity, and choice of seniors or older disabled people who may otherwise be at risk for nursing home placement. The program achieves this by providing coordinated, comprehensive medical care and supportive social services to seniors in their own homes. This allows them to age in place and stay in their community longer.
As with any government-funded program, eligibility requirements must be met. An enrollee must be 55 years of age or older. The enrollee must also live within the geographical service area of one of the 72 PACE Day Centers, since daily transportation to and from the home to the center is a key part of the program. Finally, the enrollee must have some physical disability or cognitive impairment that satisfies the state’s assessment for nursing home care need, but can still live safely within the community if assistance is provided.
PACE program benefits are designed to keep you out of a nursing home for the longest time possible. How they succeed at this is next week’s topic.
By Deborah Hoskins, JD, CFP
The Wise and the Wary Blog