Citing no difference in outcomes, CMS will allow for-profit PACE programs

A new study conducted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services found no major differences in the quality of care between for-profit and nonprofit organizations participating in a program that brings nursing home-level care to seniors' homes.

As a result, the requirement that only nonprofit entities may participate in Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) programs will no longer apply, CMS announced.

PACE provides meal, chore and transportation services to people age 55 and older, who are certified by Medicare or Medicaid as being nursing home eligible. Up until now, organizations participating in PACE were required to be either a public or private nonprofit entity.

In order to study the quality and cost of services a for-profit organization could bring to PACE, a demonstration program was authorized as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Currently only one for-profit company, Pennsylvania-based Senior LIFE Corp., participates.

The CMS study found “no statistically significant difference” between seniors enrolled in PACE through Senior LIFE and those in other PACE programs in regards to frailty, access to care and quality of care received. Expenditures between the nonprofit and for-profit programs also were similar.