02.12.21 Legislation introduced to increase access to senior services

Excerpted from OC Breeze

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris has introduced Assembly Bill 540 which will help thousands of California’s growing population of seniors remain in their homes and in our communities, by improving beneficiary awareness and access to the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).

PACE is designed to provide care for California’s frail population as an alternative to institutionalized care. PACE programs coordinate and deliver preventative and long-term care services to the elderly who would otherwise be in nursing homes, so they can continue to live and thrive in their communities. PACE is the only provider-based model of care where a single entity is entirely responsible for the delivery, outcomes and cost of care. Eligible beneficiaries must be 55 years or older and state-certified to qualify for nursing home care. Program recipients receive all of their services through a one-stop-shop PACE center, while still residing in their community, which is shown to improve mental and physical health. There are currently 65 PACE sites across California, serving nearly 12,000 frail seniors.

“Seniors shouldn’t be forced to say goodbye to their communities in order to stay healthy and safe as they age,” said Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “PACE allows older adults to remain in their home and near their loved ones, while still guaranteeing their wellbeing and safety as they age. Investing in programs we know work and that have proven results just makes good sense. AB 540 is a commonsense measure that ensures seniors have access to all their options, including PACE, when choosing a plan that is best for them.”

Even though PACE is a model of care for frail seniors, many beneficiaries are unaware of PACE eligibility and how it may benefit them. Most of the enrollment occurs through individual referrals from community sources including hospital discharge planning, senior housing, AAA’s and other sources. As a result, many seniors with higher needs could benefit from direct state engagement and referrals for PACE services.