MedPAC OKs PACE improvements

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A Medicare advisory panel issued recommendations late last week that would allow Medicare to strengthen Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) for dual eligibles.

The changes are intended to boost enrollment in the PACE program and “to pay all integrated programs for dual eligible beneficiaries from the same payment system,” MedPAC analyst Christina Aguiar said, according to a Healthcare Finance News report.

Medicare will be spending 17% more on PACE dual-eligible enrollees — those who are qualified beneficiaries of Medicare and Medicaid — than it would if these individuals stayed in tradition fee-for-service programs, according to analysts.  These adjustments to the program would reduce payments to PACE providers by $1 billion over five years, but offset that reduction by offering similar-sized payment increases for specific components of care.

PACE is a Medicare program that provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary medical and social services to frail and disabled individuals over 55 still living at home.  Among other changes MedPAC recommended was the elimination of the minimum 55 age limit.