Representative Benson, Senator Eldridge Recognized as Legislative Champions by MassPACE

BOSTON- On Thursday, April 2, 2015, Representative Benson (D-Lunenburg) and Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) were recognized as legislative champions at Massachusetts State Association of PACE Programs’ State House Day.

Representative Jennifer Benson and Senator Jamie Eldridge received Inaugural MassPace Programs’ Legislative Champion Awards, and were recognized for their continued advocacy of the MassPace Programs, and the bill they refiled this session, An Act to preserve eligibility for PACE program and certain waivered participants (HB966/SD1023).

“I was honored to receive one of MassPACE’s Legislative Champion awards.  Senator Eldridge and I always happily file our MassPACE eligibility bills, as we have both seen the cost savings, and quality of life enhancements that result from the program,” said Representative Benson. “I personally know that by improving access to community-based care, we are relieving many nursing home eligible individuals and their families, who are faced with the difficult decisions of trying to spend down their monthly income, or consider nursing home care. I saw this stressful situation firsthand with my own grandparents, so this continues to be a priority issue for me, and I intend to continue advocating for the income eligibility change.”

“It was a wonderful honor to receive a legislative champion award from MassPACE,” said Senator Eldridge. “Recognizing the wide impact programs like PACE have on improving access to all-inclusive community care as an alternative to nursing homes for our seniors, Representative Benson and I are proud to refile this legislation. I look forward to working together with MassPACE this session to advance the PACE bill.”

The Preserving Access to PACE Act (SD1023/H.966) offers a commonsense remedy to the current dilemma. PACE and Home and Community Based Waiver participants whose income is over the current program limit but below the monthly cost of nursing home care would be charged a premium equal to any income above the program limit.

The bill would improve access to community-based care for nursing home eligible individuals and produce significant benefits for older adults and the Commonwealth. Most notably:

  • PACE has been well-documented to improve both the quality and length of life for participants.
  • PACE reduces hospitalizations.
  • PACE costs significantly less per participant than MassHealth expends on nursing home care.

The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is an innovative care model focused on the keeping those 55 and older in their homes and communities for as long as possible by offering a comprehensive set of medical, behavioral health, social, and wellness services. In Massachusetts, PACE programs are sponsored by local organizations across the state. PACE participants are nursing home eligible individuals, the majority of whom are dually-eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. PACE is a capitated program in which providers are fully at risk for all costs of caring for their patients.