Inova Health System enrolled its first client in the InovaCares for Seniors Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly in May. The first program of its kind in Northern Virginia, InovaCares for Seniors operates out of a former county-run adult day-care center at Braddock Glen in Fairfax.
Based on a Medicare-endorsed national model, PACE refers to programs that allow seniors who would otherwise qualify for nursing home level care to stay at home and receive all of the support they need — both medical and nonmedical.
“Our goal at PACE is to keep individuals as independently as they can, safely, in the community,” said Rose Mario, enrollment coordinator for InovaCares for Seniors.
PACE takes a team care approach, offering everything the client needs to stay in peak health. All medical care, aides to help with activities at home, transportation, meals and any other related services are included.
“What I like about PACE programs is the comprehensive team approach,” said Terence McCormally, the medical director for InovaCares for Seniors. The veteran geriatrician provides primary care for PACE clients at the day center location.
Often, the health problems senior citizens experience are because of nonmedical factors, such as difficulty administering medications, poor diet, lack of exercise or insufficient social interaction. PACE helps clients with those nonmedical needs.
There is also a much lower doctor to patient ratio. A geriatrician in private practice would usually have about 900 patients, McCormally said, while a PACE physician only will see about 100.
“It’s a lot more intense and personal service,” he said.
The program is covered completely if the client is eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, Mario said. Those who qualify only for Medicare can opt to pay for the remainder of the expense.
Frank Gold, who is 88 and “on my way to 135,” was the first person to enroll in PACE. He previously attended the adult day center at Braddock Glen.
“It’s similar in a lot of ways but better,” he said, because of the additional services he receives.
The county’s day center clients had the option to continue going there once Inova assumed control, without enrolling in PACE, or they could opt to transfer to another center. About a dozen still attend the center, but only Gold and one other man have enrolled in PACE so far. The program can take as many as 120 clients.
Gold lives in Burke with his daughter, who helps care for him, and so far he thinks PACE is great. “They’re doing a lot of good for me, anyhow,” he said.
For information about PACE, call 703-239-5888.