A program that works to help older adults avoid nursing homes and receive care while still living in their own community plans to open a new facility in New Bern.
According to a presentation at the October 12 meeting of the Eastern Carolina Council, the nonprofit Carolina SeniorCare plans to build a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) facility in New Bern to serve the region.
According to information provided by presenter Thomas Chang of Carolina SeniorCare, a provider of PACE services, the facility is expected to open in the fall of 2024.
The New Bern PACE facility is listed on the program’s website along with three other new locations planned to open between 2023 and 2025 in Shelby, Winston Salem and Western North Carolina.
The news was confirmed by Craven County Commissioner Chadwick Howard during the board’s October 16 meeting. Howard said the new facility would be near BSH Home Appliance in New Bern.
“Their primary goal is keeping folks in their homes and healthy,” Howard said.
PACE is a national “comprehensive managed care program of services and supports designed to help keep people living at home for as long as possible,” according to the program’s website.
Each participant in PACE has a team of at least 11 members that creates an individualized care plan to meet their needs. PACE provides coverage for prescription drugs, doctor care, transportation, home care, checkups, hospital visits, as well as nursing home stays whenever necessary.
PACE is a capitated program, meaning it operates at a set monthly cost, regardless of services or benefits provided.
Interested residents can refer themselves or a referral can be made by a family member, physician or other provider.
To qualify for PACE, participants must be:
-age 55 or older
-reside in the PACE organization’s service area
-be certified as eligible for nursing home care in North Carolina
-be able to live safely in a community setting at the time of enrollment
PACE covers all Medicare Parts A, B and D benefits, all Medicaid-covered benefits, “and any other services or supports that are medically necessary to maintain or improve the health status of PACE program participants,” according to its website.
PACE has operated in North Carolina for the last 15 years. In 2004, the NC General Assembly directed the state Department of Health and Human Services to develop a pilot program to implement the program. In 2008, North Carolina amended its Medicaid plan to include PACE as a permanent option with the state’s first PACE program, Eldergaus, opening that same year.
Currently there are 11 North Carolina PACE programs operating 12 centers. Other programs include those in Asheboro, Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Gastonia, Greensboro, Lexington, Newton, Pittsboro and Wilmington. In total, the program serves 2,100 people statewide and more than 70,000 participants across the US.
To learn more about PACE visit, ncpace.org/.
By Todd Wetherington, co-editor. Send an email with questions or comments.