The Senate Health Committee has passed legislation to increase access to wraparound healthcare services that enable seniors to age in the comfort of their own communities instead of nursing homes. AB 540 will help thousands of California’s growing population of seniors by improving beneficiary awareness and access to the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).
“Seniors want care choices and don’t want to be prematurely placed in nursing homes,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “By 2030, one in three Californians will be over the age of 50 and so we must prepare our healthcare systems by expanding access to programs like PACE.”
PACE is a proven success story. PACE achieves high levels of outcomes for the beneficiaries it serves including fewer hospitalizations and nursing home admissions, better health and quality of life, and high rates of participant satisfaction with overall care. PACE is also a money saver – it is estimated that PACE saved California over $69 million in 2020. It is projected to save California $131 million this year because it is up to 42% less expensive than institutional care.
While PACE is an ideal option for many seniors, many beneficiaries are unaware of PACE eligibility and how many services are available. Most seniors who enroll for PACE are told about it by other individuals or community sources, such as hospital discharge planning, senior housing, area agencies on aging and other sources. As a result, many seniors with higher needs could benefit from direct state engagement and referrals for PACE services.
By offering all PACE-eligible beneficiaries the option to enroll, AB 540 helps to expand the reach of this highly effective and innovative program.
This bill will be heard next by the Senate Appropriations Committee.