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National PACE Association Applauds Key HHS Advisory Committee Recommendations to Expand Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the E

National PACE Association Applauds Key HHS Advisory Committee Recommendations to Expand Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, Urges Agency and Congress to Act

PR Newswire

Committee Says Comprehensive Care Model Shows

Promise In Closing Gaps in Senior Care In Rural America

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- A key advisory committee to Xavier Becerra, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) fully endorsed expanding Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and recommended a series of strategies so additional older adults residing in rural areas may have access to needed care and services in their homes and communities.

Specifically, "the Committee believes PACE is an important option in long-term care and that expansion of the model in rural America is a worthwhile endeavor." The report by the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services was released today.

"These recommendations are desperately needed and will go a long way toward ensuring that residents in rural America have access to PACE, which is a proven way to ensure that elderly Americans can remain independent in their own homes and avoid nursing home care," said Shawn Bloom, President and CEO of the National PACE Association. "We appreciate the committee's work and dedication in examining PACE and urge HHS and Congress to adopt these recommendations as quickly as possible."

Further, "[t]he Committee believes that PACE exemplifies integrated care and that expansion of the model in rural America would improve the fragmented state of long-term services and supports (LTSS). A holistic approach that truly connects health and human services is unique and an integral aspect of PACE that improves the health and quality of life of rural elders and caregivers."

The report recommends eight strategies for expanding PACE in rural parts of the country:

  1. The committee recommends the Secretary support a PACE pilot focused on Medicare only beneficiaries, including Part D coverage challenges, to assess viability in rural areas, and determine start-up capital needed for sustainability.
  2. The committee recommends the Secretary consider how best to extend telehealth coverage to PACE organizations in light of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, to the extent it has the authority to do so.
  3. The committee recommends the Secretary support the development of a rural PACE resource guide to promote the model to rural and tribal communities and provide technical assistance and case studies from successful rural and tribal programs.
  4. The committee recommends the Secretary support guidance to clarify the range of allowable shared space arrangements for Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and encourage partnerships between CAHs and PACE organizations, including considerations for cost reporting that support these partnerships without excessively reducing CAHs' cost-based reimbursement.
  5. The committee recommends the Secretary allow PACE sites to be eligible for loan repayment under the National Health Service Corps and the Nurse Corps.
  6. The committee recommends the Secretary encourage students trained through HRSA Health Profession and IHS training programs to rotate to rural PACE service sites.
  7. The committee recommends the Secretary allow PACE organizations to submit multiple applications simultaneously.
  8. The committee recommends the Secretary allow existing PACE sites to have an expedited approval process for expanding to new service area populations on a rolling basis.

The report was issued after the committee convened in September 2022 in Lawrence, KS. Throughout the course of the meeting, the committee heard from subject matter experts on PACE, aging, and long-term care issues. As part of the meeting, committee members participated in site visits to Midland Care Connection, Inc.'s headquarters in Topeka and a rural PACE site in Emporia, Kansas. NPA appreciated the opportunity to testify before the committee and thanks the members for their insightful work and thoughtful recommendations.

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SOURCE National PACE Association

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