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Health and Long-Term Care Program Integration

Program Of All-inclusive Care For The Elderly

The PACE program was initiated in 1986 as a congressionally mandated demonstration. It has since become a permanent program with authorization for several dozen sites around the United States. PACE offers complete coverage of all Medicare-reimbursed services (including hospital, physician, home health, and skilled nursing homes) and Medicaid-covered services. Medicaid coverage includes the same services reimbursed by Medicare, as well as long-term nursing home care, homemaker services, and adult day health care. The PACE program is targeted exclusively on persons whose needs make them eligible for nursing home placement. These programs are at full financial risk for all Medicare- and Medicaid-covered services used by their members. They receive a fixed monthly payment for each member, regardless of the care received. This is called a capitation payment. Under this reimbursement system the PACE sites can allocate Medicare and Medicaid revenues to whatever services, including non-health care services, deemed most appropriate. Having all services covered under a single budget permits the PACE sites to substitute lower levels for higher levels, when appropriate, and to capture the cost savings. Health and long-term care service integration is further achieved through adult day health care participation of the members, which permits the routine monitoring of functional and health status, medication management, and involvement in physical exercise and other enrichment activities. Care planning is done through multidisciplinary teams who work together rather than through professionals working in isolation.

A difficult challenge for PACE has been maintaining enrollment levels (Irvin, et al.). This is largely the result of program requirements for adult day care participation and the loss of freedom to choose one's physician (participants must use a PACE physician, who is usually a staff doctor). Several sites have been modifying their operations to place less reliance on day care and to give members the option of retaining their own physician.

While this has been a highly popular program with federal and state policy makers, there is still some question about the reimbursement payment levels, and whether the sites are receiving overpayment (Mukamel et al.). This concern arises, in part, because the sites can be selective in the referrals they accept into the program.

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Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 2Health and Long-Term Care Program Integration - Program Of All-inclusive Care For The Elderly, Social/health Maintenance Organization, Screening And Service Coordination In Medicare Hmos