This article was originally posted on AARP Policy Institute . Read the full article here.
Adults who need long-term services and supports (LTSS)—that is, assistance with everyday activities such as bathing and preparing meals—often have complex medical care needs. At the same time, they may face significant barriers to obtaining needed, timely medical care, putting at risk their health and well-being.
This Spotlight highlights a combined federal and state program designed to help overcome these barriers by integrating
medical care and LTSS for people with significant LTSS needs. The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) has demonstrated success in improving the health and wellbeing of participants as well as enhancing their ability to continue living at home as they age. It also has resulted in high satisfaction among family caregivers.
The PACE model has its origins in the early 1970s, when founders William Gee and Marie Louis Ansak sought a fully integrated system to help older adults with LTSS needs live safely at home and avoid or delay moves to nursing homes.
In 1997, the federal government established PACE as an option for states to serve adults ages 55 and older with nursing-home levels of care needs and who, with PACE support, could live safely at home. The overwhelming majority of people served by PACE are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid, or in Medicaid alone, although PACE is open to other eligible adults.
Research has shown PACE to be beneficial to participants and family caregivers; it is also cost effective. Yet despite its success, only about 70,000 individuals are enrolled in about 300 PACE centers across 32 states plus the District of Columbia, as of August 2023. As states look to increase access to home and community-based options for people with LTSS needs, PACE offers an evidence-based model with potential for expansion to and within more states and communities nationwide.