By Paul Hubbard
Special to The Truth
Billie Johnson, president and CEO of the Area Agency on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, has been trying to get a Pace Health Care for Seniors here in Lucas County. Ohio has one PACE Program but will not expand it because of lack of funding.
For the past several years Johnson has been able to attract three partners to advocate for a Lucas County PACE program. They are United Methodists Retirement Center (UMRC), National Church Residences (NCR), and Otterbein SeniorLife Neighborhood. However, they have not been able to get the Ohio Department of Medicaid to approve a new PACE Health Care Program for Toledo and Lucas County.
This would be a model of care for that would let the elderly remain at home. As seniors cope with losing loved ones and isolation brought on by covid 19 pandemic and getting the their COVID 19 vaccine it is critical that we not only reassure our most vulnerable citizens, but keep them safe.
PACE (Program of All inclusive Care for the Elderly) is a unique health plan funded by Medicare and Medicaid that provides integrated care and services and services to eligible seniors. For years it has been a trusted haven for seniors and it has proved especially vital throughout the pandemic.
In the Detroit area PACE has partnered with Henry Ford Hospital and Presbyterian Villages of Michigan (I am a board member of PVM). Our goal is to enable seniors with chronic illness to be independent in their own homes for as long as possible. PACE accomplishes this by providing access to the full continuum of preventive, primary, acute and long-term services through its health centers and in the homes. In this way seniors have more hope, vitality and joy and overall higher quality of life. The seniors can receive appropriate care and resources in the comfort of their home.