San Diego's PACE Program Lowering Cost For Seniors Who Want To Retain Independence

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that an elderly care program is allowing senior citizens to retain their independence by providing medical care and home assistance through a nonprofit program.

The program, St. Paul's Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, "functions like a health maintenance organization, is the only one of its kind in the county and one of 70 nationwide." Officials with Medicare and California's Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, "have praised these programs for working to save money not only by emphasizing preventive care but also by making it convenient. Studies have shown that aggressive and proactive case management cuts down on expensive hospitalizations and intensive stays in a nursing home."

The program links medical and long-term care services and serves 105 clients, but because "PACE operates in the HMO model, participants must give up some or all of their previous physicians and switch to doctors affiliated with the program. Membership is limited by geography: PACE participants must live within several miles of the program's main care center" (Darce, 1/4).

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