Lawmakers Push for Sweeping Change to PACE Programs

A group of senators are pushing for changes Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) that would expand the services that fall under pace as well as the care teams that collaborate through the system.

In a letter sent to Marilyn Tavenner, administrator for the Department of Health and Human Services, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) rallied support of 11 other senators toward an effort to improve PACE programs. 

Among the changes, the senators are working toward allowing PACE organizations to offer services in other community settings outside of PACE facilities; allow PACE organization to integrate community physicians; provide flexibility to configure PACE interdisciplinary teams based on needs of the individual; and conduct concurrent CMS and state agency reviews of new PACE provider applications or expansion applications. 


“In Pennsylvania, the PACE program has been extremely successful,” said Sen. Toomey. “The commonwealth has 17 PACE programs—the most in the country—and 4,300 enrollees. Sen. Carper and I want to allow these programs to build on their innovative model and give PACE beneficiaries access to improved health care delivery of other social services.”

As a means to provide care outside of institutional settings, the PACE program warrants long-awaited change, the senators write in the letter. 

“PACE is in a unique position to help the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) achieve its goals of better care, better health and increased cost-effectiveness for a larger and more diverse number of dually eligible individuals,” they say. “However, current regulatory and statutory barriers have inhibited PACE growth and innovation.”


Written by Elizabeth Ecker