Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
PACE Programs – One of Michigan’s Best Kept Secrets for Older Adults
Sarah Milanowski, LLMSW
Intake and Outreach Coordinator
LifeCircles-PACE, a Porter Hills PACE Partnership
Click here to view the WZZM13 Senior Wellness segment on this topic.
What is PACE?
PACE is an acronym which stands for “Program of All-Inclusive care for the Elderly. They are long term care programs for older adults with complex health or memory needs. PACE programs believe that it is best for the individual, family, and community to assist older adults in aging in their own home/community, whenever possible. The individuals who enroll into the programs are known as “participants” rather than “residents” or “patients”. No one lives at the PACE site, and enrollees are active participants in their health and social care plans. These programs provide access to 24/7 care and support to frail older adults, who in years past, may have only been able to get this level of service by moving into a skilled nursing setting. PACE programs have existed across the country for the past 40 years.
Quality of life and PACE Programs:
PACE programs work hard to help older adults define what they want out of their later years. The program team then works each day to walk alongside the older adult and their loved ones to provide the type of care that honors the individual’s wishes. The team is made of professionals who are specially trained to care for older adults with complex health and memory needs. The team helps coordinate and provide medical and social care that align with the goals of the individual. A medical provider with a local program is known for saying “PACE programs don’t just treat ‘what’s the matter’ with their participants; they also work hard to honor ‘what matters most’ to their participants”.
Different names, same program model:
There are over 115 PACE programs across the country in 30 different states– with more currently in development.
Michigan currently has 13 sites with several additional sites in planning phases. Most sites have their own unique name, though all provide the same essential services. Each PACE site is highly regulated through a joint relationship between the State it is located in and CMS, which manages Medicare programs.
There are three PACE programs serving West Michigan
CentraCare –Two Locations which serve Calhoun County, Kalamazoo County, a portion of VanBuren County
Care Resources – One location which Serves Kent County and a portion of Ottawa County
LifeCircles–PACE – Two locations which serve Muskegon County, Most of Ottawa County, and a portion of Allegan County. Porter Hills is a partner of this PACE program.
PACE Day Center:
The PACE day center is the hub of care. Most participants visit their center 2–3 days per week. At the center they are able to join in on enriching opportunities, catch up with friends over breakfast, meet with their physical therapist, and see their doctor. The day centers are places of energy and fun. The center also houses the medical clinic. PACE participants get to use a “one stop” approach to their medical care. The clinic houses the medical team, and also hosts vision, dental, audiology, and foot care providers to reduce the need for traveling all over town for care.
Health care made sense:
Often times older adults, and their loved ones mention that managing health care is getting more and more difficult. It seems like it takes longer to get appointments to see the doctor, or that one doctor doesn’t always talk to their other doctors. PACE programs are designed to improve communication across different health providers, and to move quickly to prevent those little things from becoming bigger problems down the road. Each day, the programs hold team meetings where different disciplines meet to discuss any changes that have happened in the last 24 hours for their participants. Each program works hard to understand the goals and desires of the individual, and then works to help that participant reach or maintain those goals. The team can see the participant at the day center, in their home, or even at the hospital.
PACE success stories:
From day one each person enrolled in the program is technically qualified to live in a skilled nursing setting. Though across the nation only about 7% of PACE participants live in skilled nursing. The program spends its time and resources to help individuals gain and maintain their most independent status. Participant’s and loved ones often remark on how much peace of mind they have, knowing the PACE team is there for them, 24/7.
How is PACE funded?
PACE is an insurance based program. Most individuals in the program have both Medicare and Medicaid as insurances. Each site has an enrollment coordinator that can help individuals determine whether or not they may be eligible to receive extra help from Medicaid in paying for long term care. If someone does not financially qualify for Medicaid, there are options available to privately pay for the program. Some participants have been able to utilize their long term care insurance to assist in paying for the program.
More information on PACE programs can be found by visiting:
LifeCircles–PACE, a Porter Hills PACE Partnership
Muskegon location: 231-733-8686
Holland location: 616-582-3100