The expansion of PACE into rural communities will give residents access to long-term care and services they don't have.
A series of recommendations from an advisory committee to Xavier Becerra, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the expansion of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) could enable elderly residents in rural communities to age in place.
The recommendations are part of a report by the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services (NACRHHS), and have been fully endorsed by this committee.
Healthcare and aging services are difficult to access in rural or more remote areas, with residents typically having to travel miles to the nearest provider.
The demand for aging services continues to grow, and by 2030, about 20% of the nation's population will be of the age where they may need to utilize them.. Expanding PACE would enable older adults the comfort of aging in place by ensuring they have access to the care and services they need in their community.
"We appreciate the committee's work and dedication in examining PACE and urge HHS and Congress to adopt these recommendations as quickly as possible," Shawn Bloom, president and CEO of the National PACE Association, said in a statement.
"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," Bloom continued.
Expanding PACE into rural communities would improve the "fragmented" state of long-term care services there, according to the committee.
To expand PACE to these areas and make care more accessible, the key advisory committee recommended different strategies, including:
- Supporting a PACE pilot program that focuses solely on Medicare beneficiaries
- Considering how to extend telehealth coverage to PACE organizations
- Supporting 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 programs for these communities
- Allowing PACE sites to be eligible for loan repayment under the National Health Service Corps and the Nurse Corps
- Encouraging students trained through Health Resources and Services Association (HRSA) Health Profession and Indian Health Service (IHS) training to rotate to rural PACE service sites
“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.”
Shawn Bloom, CEO and president, National PACE Association
The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services authored a report endorsing recommendations to expand PACE into rural communities.
The expansion would allow older adults in these areas to age in place comfortably.