Florida TaxWatch Report Examines PACE Program Helping Seniors With Long-Term Care

On Thursday, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) brought out a report on the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).

The report “finds that participants in this innovative program enjoy a higher quality of care, improved quality of life, and consume services at a lower cost than that of other comparable Medicaid and Medicare programs.” PACE is a long-term care program where a single provider is responsible for all primary, acute, and long-term care services, as well as all appropriate social, restorative, and supportive services for adults 55 or older at home or in health care facilities who are certified as needing nursing home level of care.

In the report, FTW examines the PACE program, looking at its costs, services, benefits and challenges in the future.

“Among its findings in the report, FTW details the significantly lower cost of PACE when compared to similar Medicaid and Medicare programs. Notably, in Florida, a 2014 study commissioned by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) and completed by Milliman found that the Medicaid cost to serve PACE participants in Florida was 44 percent lower than the cost to serve the same number of participants in the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) program,” FTW noted.

HealthCare Services President and CEO Samira Beckwith, a member of the Florida TaxWatch Executive Committee, weighed in on the report on Thursday.

“During my time over the past 25 years working in hospice and elderly care, I have seen firsthand the monumental impact that patient-centered, data-driven programs, like PACE, can have on the quality of care and life enjoyed by our aging neighbors and loved ones. In Florida, and across the nation, PACE has shown time and time again to be a proven program that has real and measurable positive results for its enrollees while reducing unnecessary costs and burdens on the health care system,” Beckwith said.

Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro stressed the importance of the PACE program.

“As Florida’s elderly population continues to grow at such a rapid pace, it is imperative that our state finds innovative solutions to providing high-quality, cost-effective medical and social services to aging Floridians. In our report on the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, our findings show significant benefits to its enrollees including a higher rate of independent home living and improved health outcomes. These positive results, combined with the clear evidence of lower costs for services, are a winning formula and should be noted by policymakers charged with confronting the challenges ahead in caring for Florida’s elderly residents,” Calabro said.

“According to Florida’s Office of Economic Development and Research, the population of Floridians age 65 and older was nearly 3.2 million in 2010 and is projected to grow to more than 6.6 million by 2040. Florida first adopted PACE in 2003 and has the capacity to serve more than 2,800 elderly residents in 15 counties through six PACE providers,” FTW noted.

This is the latest in a series of reports from Florida TaxWatch on long-term care for Florida’s growing elderly population, and focuses on community-based care, expanding care into underserved areas, and driving down the costs of health care.

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