MorseLife Palm Beach PACE Program Celebrates First Year of Providing Care and Independence to Seniors

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Palm Beach PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) on the MorseLife campus is celebrating its first year of providing comprehensive care and independence to seniors at risk of nursing home placement.

Palm Beach PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) on the MorseLife campus is celebrating its first year of providing comprehensive care and independence to seniors at risk of nursing home placement. According to Keith Myers, President/CEO for MorseLife, plans are underway to expand the managed care program which is certified for 450 enrollees, with the intention of establishing a South County site at Temple Sinai in Delray Beach next year.

Palm Beach PACE was launched last November as the exclusive PACE program in Palm Beach County. A national initiative, PACE is a managed care plan for seniors age 55 and older who are nursing home-eligible, but prefer to remain at home with healthcare and related services. There is no cost for enrollees eligible for Medicaid, or both Medicare and Medicaid.

Keith Myers said the Palm Beach PACE Program fits well within the progressive philosophy of MorseLife, that of being able to provide a full spectrum of medical and supportive services to seniors and their families, enabling them to thrive in their own homes and communities.

“This program is a “win-win,” for enrollees, as it helps them to live at home despite their challenges,” he said. “It is also benefits our state’s health care system, given the high cost of caring for the most frail of our community.”

He notes that he looks forward to expanding the program with the new site in Delray Beach.

Alan Sadowsky, Ph.D., MorseLife’s Vice President of Community-Based Services who oversees the program, notes that the program is much-needed in this community.

“The program is primarily serving lower income individuals, including minorities, who have not had easy access to programs and services designed to keep them well,” he said. “Palm Beach PACE is now changing lives -- in Palm Beach PACE, all of a sudden, enrollees have access to a full continuum of services under one roof that are 100% covered by the managed care program.”

Dr. Sadowsky noted that the program provides physician and nursing services, lab work, physical rehabilitation, prescriptions and medication management, adult day care and home care, as well as transportation, thereby eliminating the barrier to getting to the site.

“Our staff, which also includes consulting disciplines such as a podiatry, dentistry and ophthalmology, is committed to improving the daily lives of our enrollees, keeping them active, healthy and as independent as possible,” he said. “As designed, the PACE program keeps enrollees out of the nursing home, thereby reducing the high cost of caring for the most frail of our community.”

In the past year, Dr. Sadowsky noted that he has seen enrollees become far healthier since coming into the program.

“They are eating healthier since meals are included,” he said. “Enrollees are consistently under the care of clinicians, have laboratory work as they need it, get stronger with physical, occupational and speech therapy, take their prescriptions, and socialize in our adult day program. Through our home care agency, enrollees are staying secure and independent in the home.”

Bonnie Gross of West Palm Beach, whose mother Dolores Seiger is an enrollee, said that the PACE program has been a blessing to her mother and entire family.

“Upon moving to Florida to be near her children, mom wanted to maintain her wellness and independence in the face of both medical and financial challenges,” she said. “Palm Beach PACE program offers services under one roof offering the continuity of care mom needs to maintain her wellness, along with the socialization she needs to enhance her spirit.”

Anthony Laudicina, who at 56 is among program’s younger enrollees, noted that before coming to the PACE three months ago, he was struggling with co-pays for his services, including his medications, and was living in unsafe housing: “Now that I am here, my medications are covered, blood pressure is under control, I am receiving physical therapy,” he said. “The staff also went the extra mile to help me secure affordable and safer housing.”

Mr. Laudicina said that Palm Beach PACE has changed his life for the better and hoped more PACE programs would be established for people like him!

Palm Beach PACE, is under the clinical direction of Ivan Merkelj, M.D., a board certificated geriatrician, who directed another PACE Program for eight years, and Paola Wierzbicki, MSW who serves as director of the Palm Beach PACE site. Palm Beach PACE is located on the MorseLife campus at 4847 Fred Gladstone Drive in West Palm Beach. For more information, call (561) 868-2999 or go to http://www.palmbeachpace.org.

About MorseLife

MorseLife is a nationally-recognized provider of innovative, exceptional health care and housing services for seniors in Palm Beach County since 1983. A charitable, not-for-profit organization, programs include short-term rehabilitation, long term care, independent and assisted living, home care, adult day center, Neighbor2Neighbor, Palm Beach PACE, geriatric care management and meals-on-wheels. For more information, visit http://www.morselife.org.

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Greg Goodman
MorseLife
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