COVID Recovery Fund
Age Safe in Place, with PACE.
That’s the goal for many Michigan seniors today. Lessons learned during COVID-19 bear out the fact that, for many older adults, it’s better to remain independent and stable in a familiar setting.
The more our state leaders can do to help residents at all income levels and walks of life maintain their independence, the better. It’s a matter of dignity, equity, and personal freedom.
That is why Michigan’s PACE programs (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) offer such a valuable alternative for our state’s residents. PACE supports older adults and their families with comprehensive physical, psychological, and social-emotional support that ensures they can remain safe and well-cared for at home, regardless of income level.
But today, there are obstacles. Our state’s leaders must help address these challenges to give all Michiganders the ability to take advantage of PACE programs in their own communities. Here’s what’s needed:
Support PACE Provider Workforce & Facilitate Telehealth Expansion
- Issue: The Public Health Emergency has made it difficult to retain and recruit staff and has put a spotlight on individuals’ desire to age safe in place while receiving long term services and supports.
- Solution: Support a one-time rate increase of 20% for PACE providers to support COVID related expenditures including: investing in direct care workers, staff recruitment and retention, PPE, and continued telehealth technologies.
Invest in Underserved PACE Communities
- Issue: Currently folks in rural parts of the state do not have access to PACE services, leaving them with no other option than placement in an institutional setting.
- Solution: Invest $9 million in innovative one-time funding to help off-set start-up costs to establish new PACE programs in rural communities.
Improve Access to PACE Services by Eliminating Barriers to Enrollment
- Issue: There are many unnecessary regulatory barriers that make it difficult for someone to enroll in PACE; enrollment caps, card cut off dates, and artificial time restraints within the eligibility process. These barriers can result in delays in access to care of up to 45 days.
- Solution: Include language that would eliminate enrollment caps, remove card cut off dates, and allow for any time enrollment into PACE. Afterall, it should be as easy to enroll in PACE as it is in other long-term care settings.
For the past several years, Michigan lawmakers have been seeking opportunities to expand PACE services in areas with high levels of need. This one-time investment can help prompt critical expansion and allow more seniors to live in the ways they choose.
As our senior population—which was extraordinarily hard-hit during the pandemic—continues to grow and heal, the ability to meet them safely at home with valuable PACE programming is more essential than ever.
The time is right. The solution is clear. It’s time for Michigan’s policy leaders to act.