Rep. Deborah Armstrong’s bill to expand New Mexico’s already successful PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) program for seniors in order to eliminate the waiting list to enroll in the specialized Medicare and Medicaid program will be heard Thursday by the House Health Committee.
“PACE is already working for New Mexico seniors,” Armstrong said. “By providing comprehensive, easy-to-access care for some of our most vulnerable seniors, New Mexico is already helping the elderly receive the services they need to allow them to live – safely – in their own homes. Unfortunately, the current limit on enrollees has roughly 250 seniors on a waiting list to get into the program. My bill expands funding for PACE to eliminate the waiting list and allow more seniors to be part of this effective program.”
PACE is a unique program that provides care to vulnerable patients, most of whom qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. Using an interdisciplinary approach, PACE providers work in teams to deliver the specialized medical care and social services that an individual patient needs to help them continuing living on their own.
HB 162 provides for a recurring $1 million expenditure from the general fund to pay for an expansion of the existing – and effective – PACE program in New Mexico.
“For some seniors, assisted living centers or nursing homes are a great option that can meet their needs and provide them with the community and lifestyle they want,” Armstrong said. “However, many other seniors prefer to stay in their homes, in their communities, and near their friends and family. PACE helps make that possible and improves quality of life for these seniors. We need to expand PACE to make sure that every senior who wants to can participate.”
Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino has introduced a companion bill, SB 134, in the Senate. That bill has been referred to the Senate Public Affairs Committee.