PACE Center Premiering

Published 4:08 pm Thursday, January 3, 2013

FARMVILLE – The Centra Southside PACE Center is now playing in the Longwood Village Shopping Center's former movie theater complex.

PACE, which stands for Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, is a comprehensive program for adults 55 years of age and older who meet the criteria for nursing facility placement but prefer to remain living at home and have an assessment indicating that living at home with the support of the PACE program is a safe alternative.

The program provides adult day-care as one part of its comprehensive and individualized participant care and is now receiving applications for enrollment as a participant at the center.

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The Farmville PACE site, managed by Janet Hundley, is an expansion of Centra's nationally-recognized Lynchburg PACE center.

PACE, whose foundation can be traced to a community-based system of care begun in San Francisco in the 1970s, is funded through Medicare and Medicaid and is a program of the Commonwealth of Virginia, with both state and federal oversight.

There are 82 PACE programs in 29 states. Centra opened its first PACE site in Lynchburg in 2009.

Debra Maddox, executive director of Centra's PACE program, briefed Farmville's Town Council in June, along with two other Centra PACE staffers who will work at both the Farmville and Lynchburg sites.

The Farmville PACE site is creating approximately 40 jobs and will gradually expand to 125 participants from the site's seven-county service area.

“If you think about a mission, a purpose and a goal, it's a way to keep individuals at home for as long as we can, as long as they're physically able to stay at home,” Maddox told Town Council.

Centra's PACE program admits participants on a monthly basis, usually the first of each month, and an assessment is done to make sure they are eligible to be part of the program.

The PACE program, explained Maddox, also a Nurse Practitioner, “is certified through Medicare and Medicaid and those two entities pay for the services…When you join the program you actually turn your Medicare and Medicaid card in. We let you keep it. We put a sticker on it that says 'Don't use this card, use your PACE card,' and we become that insurance company and we pay for all of your medical needs.”

The program is cost-free, except in rare instances where a nominal fee may be necessary for someone not qualified for Medicaid.

But those who become PACE participants are not locked into the program. They can just as easily opt-out later.

“If you choose to join the program, that's great. If you choose to dis-enroll at any time and go back to your Medicare and Medicaid medicines, that's okay, too,” Maddox said. “It's just a different option for those individuals who say 'I really want to try to live at home for a little bit longer and I need some assistance.'”

The assistance includes transportation.

PACE has a fleet of buses and provides transportation to the facility each morning, Monday through Friday, and then takes those enrolled in the program back home. Participants receive medical care and enjoy a host of activities. Staff, meanwhile, are on-call 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

“It truly is a 24-hour (program). We have administrative staff on call 24 hours a day, we have a physician, a nurse practitioner on call 24 hours a day, and the same services will be extended in Farmville,” Ms. Maddox assured Town Council.

The services are based upon an individualized blueprint for each participant's care.

An interdisciplinary team develops a program of care specific to each PACE participant, Kim Woodley told Town Council as part of its June monthly meeting.

“We have an interdisciplinary team that is made up of physicians, nurses, dieticians, occupational therapists, physical therapist; if needed, we have a speech therapist that we consult,” said Woodley, Quality Coordinator for Centra PACE, and who will also serve the Farmville PACE site in that capacity.

“We have transportation, activities, and the whole idea is to develop a plan of care that's individualized for each person. No two people will have the exact same plan of care,” she said.

“We look at the goals the participant and their families want to achieve with that healthcare. Whether they want to achieve a functional status or maybe just a palliative status where they are comfortable. We look at all of those things and then we put together a care plan,” Woodley detailed.

The PACE program is also involved in the life and care of its participants when they are home each evening and on weekends.

“We have a home care coordinator. We look at what's going on in the homes so that we can assist them in optimizing their homes by safety features. We try to minimize any adverse events that might occur in the home,” Woodley told them. “We have a social worker who assists in a variety of areas, including resources and making sure participants have what they need.”

The interdisciplinary team gets together every six months to review the care plan for each participant.

“Or sooner if necessary. If a participant has a change in level of care,” Woodley explained, “they get together sooner, or if the participant or family members want it sooner. But at a minimum every six months they get together, they look at the progress that's been made-did they meet the goals that were set? If so, that's great. Are there new goals we want to set? If they didn't meet the goals, what do we need to do to help them achieve those goals?”

And those goals for each PACE participant, Woodley stressed, “are outcome based…We have to have evidence that they met them. They're not just all touchy-feely. They're very evidenced-based.”

Woodley told Town officials that her “role in the program is in the quality area, so we have a lot of checks and balances to evaluate where we are and are we meeting our targets organizationally…”

Covering the financial aspects of the Centra PACE program, George Graham explained that it is “an agreement between the state and federal government…so we receive both funding from Medicare, for their Part A and B, or hospital stays and out-patient stays, as well as their Part D program. So we are a licensed Part D program, provide any and all medications (participants) might require.

“We also receive money from the state, Medicaid. If a person does not quality for Medicare then they're just Medicaid-only; we can still enroll them in the program,” Graham continued. “Or if the person does not qualify for Medicaid they can enroll in the program as a Medicare-only participant and then they would pay a small fee, which is less than what it would normally cost them in a nursing facility.

“The majority of our participants, I want to say currently in Lynchburg, pay zero dollars each month for this program. It's absolutely free,” noted Graham, the program's office manager in Lynchburg and who will also serve the Farmville site. “Probably about 90 percent of them it's absolutely free.”

The PACE program also provides ten days of respite care, allowing family members to go on vacation without having to worry about the well-being of a loved one.

“For example, if your mother or father is living with you and you want to go out of town, but they can't really travel, we provide ten days of respite in a facility,” Graham explained, “so that way you could go out of town for a wedding or go on vacation.”

Maddox told Town Council that, “when you join the PACE program you need to have assistance at home…You need to have a family member that's going to assist you with the care, and you have to (need) a nursing home level of care. In order to do that you need to have the department of social services do an assessment as well as someone from the health department do an assessment and let us know you meet that nursing home level of care.”

Referring to the adult daycare, Maddox said, “that's a part of the PACE program.”

But the services go far beyond that.

“When we say all-inclusive care that's just one part of the PACE program. When you come into the center there's a physician's office and a team of clinic staff-that includes nurses, nurse practitioners, medical assistance-that takes care of your needs, just like you were going to go to the doctor's office. And they have a daily clinic schedule available for all the participants that join the program,” explained Maddox.

The Farmville PACE program will service Prince Edward, Buckingham, Appomattox, Cumberland, Amelia, Nottoway and Charlotte Counties.

Anyone interested in information about enrolling as a participant in the Centra Southside PACE Center may contact:

Dixie Turner, MSW

Intake Coordinator/Social Worker

Centra PACE Farmville

1530 South Main Street

Farmville, VA 23901

434-315-2890 (main)

434-315-2892 (office)

434-944-7295 (cell)

434-392-0333 (fax)

(Disclosure: Woodley is the wife of Herald editor Ken Woodley)