Shawn Bloom Leads PACE On the Path to Preventative Senior Care

For those of you who are not familiar with the PACE alternative of care, you will find this model very interesting.  PACE is one of the alternative models of care that is funded by Medicare and take a unique financial approach.  As you will learn in the interview with Shawn Bloom, president and CEO of the National PACE Association, PACE programs are financially motivated to following preventative paths of cafe – a unique occurrence in health care today. This incentive forces PACE Centers to take more of a 360-degree view of care than many care models available.

Shawn’s Description of the PACE Model

Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) are innovative because they provide continuous care and services offering individuals eligible for nursing home care the option of continuing to live in the community. Because these health care costs are traditionally paid for through the Medicare and Medicaid programs and out of people’s pockets, access to a comprehensive system of care that encompasses preventive, primary, acute and long term care is usually not possible. One key to the PACE model is the combining of dollars from different funding streams in order to deliver a comprehensive set of services focused on the health and well-being of the individual.

Because PACE delivers care differently from traditional long term care providers, it can be difficult to understand how all the elements of the program work together. For example, the public may be mostly aware of the PACE program’s vans that provide transportation to PACE participants.  Policy makers may view PACE as a program that integrates Medicare and long term care funding in a way that saves taxpayer dollars while providing more effective care. PACE participants and their family members might see the PACE center that they attend as the central part of the program. But it is the combination of the different components of the PACE model, including the work of the interdisciplinary team, that results in care and services that are tailored to the individual needs of each PACE participant.

What is PACE?

The ability to coordinate the care of each participant enrolled in PACE is key to the model. PACE programs coordinate and provide all needed preventive, primary, acute and long term care services so that their participants can continue living in the community. To understand how PACE works, it is important to learn about the components of PACE that enable it to respond to the unique needs of each participant enrolled in the program.

Interdisciplinary Teams: Teams comprised of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, therapists, van drivers, aides and others — meet regularly to exchange information and solve problems as the conditions and needs of PACE participants change. Through interdisciplinary teams, the viewpoints of different disciplines are brought together, and information gained through interaction with the PACE participants over time and in different settings is shared. This approach empowers those involved and allows more information to be available at the critical points when decisions are being made.

Capitated Payment Arrangements: PACE receives a monthly capitated payment (i.e., a lump sum from Medicare combined with Medicaid or a participant’s private pay resources that is used to pay for a variety of comprehensive services) and is responsible for the care their participants need. As such, the financial interests of the PACE program and the care needs of the persons they serve are aligned in a unique way. Regardless of whether needed services would be reimbursed under traditional fee-for-service Medicare and Medicaid, PACE provides a comprehensive set of preventive, primary, acute and long term care services that are specifically tailored to the needs of each PACE participant to help them avoid hospital or nursing home placement to the greatest extent possible. The program is designed to closely monitor participants for even subtle changes in needs, which if left unattended could lead to costly acute care episodes.

For example, a Medicare beneficiary shows up at the emergency room every month to be treated for skin infections caused by flea bites. The traditional, fragmented care delivery system would have trouble addressing the root cause of her condition and might just keep treating the patient’s flea bites. For a PACE enrollee, the team, with input from social workers, home health aides and drivers who have been in her home, may decide to fumigate her home and provide a flea dip for her pet. This flexibility can produce more cost effective solutions and a higher quality of life than prescribing costly medications or continually hospitalizing an individual.

PACE Centers: PACE participants regularly attend the PACE center on an average of three days per week. This center includes a health clinic with an on-site physician and nurse practitioner, physical and occupational therapy facilities, and at least one common room for social and recreational activities.  Unlike fee-for-service Medicare and Medicaid programs, PACE has the flexibility to provide services such as occupational and physical therapies even when the goal is to maintain or slow the decline of an ability — not to cause measurable improvement. Because PACE participants have regular contact with primary care professionals who know them well, slight changes in their health status or mood can be immediately addressed.

Transportation: Transportation for PACE participants is another covered benefit. Transportation is critical to the implementation of the care plan. It is a key way in which PACE supports families who are providing care for their loved ones. Transportation is provided not only to and from the day center, but also to other appointments. Providing transportation also places a driver, who has been trained to observe cues, in the home of the PACE participant. Drivers can then report these cues that may signal a change in health status or other changes that should be monitored.

About Shawn Bloom

Shawn Bloom is the President and CEO of the National PACE Association (NPA), an organization that represents 71 operating PACE sites and approximately 40 additional health care organizations in various stages of PACE site development.  Since joining NPA in (1999), the number of PACE locations has grown to serve over 17,000 participants around the Nation. Shawn has served as the Principal Investigator for many PACE-related grant supported efforts and his leadership has played an instrumental role in not only the growth of PACE, but health care policy reform in general. Shawn frequently speaks on behalf of PACE and health care policy topics at aging forums and numerous federal, state and local provider conferences.  With over 25 years in the elder and health care industries, Shawn is a well-known expert with National and local media and frequently is called to testify before state and federal policymakers.

Prior to assuming the role of President and CEO with NPA, Shawn spent 5 years as the Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Homes for the Aging (MoAHA), which represented over 100 not-for-profit long-term health care and housing facilities in the state of Missouri.  Shawn previously worked in the Policy and Governmental Affairs Division of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA), a Washington, D.C.-based trade association that represents approximately 6000 providers of long-term health and housing services for the aging.

Shawn received his B.S. in biochemistry and gerontology from Kansas State University and completed his M.S. coursework in long term care at the University of North Texas, Center for Studies in Aging.  Shawn began his career in the elder and health care industries early in life, working as a nursing home Certified Nurse Aide in high school and college.

Contact Information

PACE Information for Consumers

National PACE Association
801 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 309
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone 703/535-1565
Fax 703/535-1566

Patricia Grace and Rita Files – Bringing “Aging with Grace” to Working Americans

Patricia and Rita’s Description of Aging With Grace

Aging with Grace is the solution for labor and management to accommodate an aging societies shifting needs and handling of eldercare issues with respect and dignity allowing all to age with grace. We approach each situation on an individual basis with patience, understanding and expert knowledge to offer the best solution and resources.

Advances in medicine and technology are allowing people to live longer, resulting in the need for many individuals active in the work force to be faced with the need to manage their loved ones’ eldercare needs.

Patricia Grace and Rita Files have created the solution to elder care stress in the work place through Aging with Grace. Their extensive working knowledge of programs serving older adults and experience in long-term care services, organizations, policies and financing across the continuum to include nursing homes, assisted living and Alzheimer’s Care allows them to lead and guide individuals on eldercare issues that are relevant and critically important to all and that can provide distractions and increased stress on employees.  Their focus is on reducing or eliminating the emotional impact that aging issues have not only for an individual but also, for the entire family.

The Aging with Grace Program embraces three specific areas of concentration: education, coordination, and facilitation:

  • Education: regarding care options (nursing care, Alzheimer’s care, home care, etc), financial obligations, caregiver issues and stress, funding options including the VA Pension for Aid & Attendance and Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Coordination: for the selection of providers, referrals to physicians, elder care attorney’s, financial planners, senior relocation specialists and acting as liaison with families at a distance.
  • Facilitation: for placement in senior living communities, nursing homes, in-home services or adult day care.

Unique Business Model

Rita Files

The Aging with Grace Program is primarily a membership model that is being marketed to unions, large employer groups and benefit consultants, who in turn market the program to their employees and members as a “voluntary benefit.”  The annual fee is $34.95 per year for individuals Union Plus members are offered the program for $24.95 per year. The AWG Program is also available to large groups who wish to provide this program as a paid benefit for their members.

The program includes:

  • Unlimited telephone access, to experienced elder care specialists for assistance with immediate needs, program and enrollment information.
  • Access to a dedicated area on the AWG website that includes resource information and a Caregiver Tool Kit and tips for managing caregiver stress.
  • Member discounts for senior services and programs from participating providers negotiated by AWG exclusively for members.
  • Provider quality assurance program as well as member satisfaction programs.
  • Online member caregiver support group
  • Monthly caregiver newsletter

About Patricia Grace

With over 18 years experience in the senior health field, Patricia Grace recognized the needs of our aging population and their families and founded Aging with Grace. As a Certified Senior Advisor, she offers in depth knowledge on Medicare/Medicaid and Long Term Care insurances. Ms. Grace has worked extensively in the assisted living and long term care industry educating the elderly and their children on senior housing, Alzheimer’s care, home care and adult day care options. She appears frequently on TV and radio discussing topics from senior housing to care giver stress in the work place.

Patricia has been actively involved in community and non profit organizations such as the Twilight Wish Foundation, CAPS, Society of Certified Senior Advisors, National Association of Certified Geriatric Care Managers, Eastern PA Geriatric Council and the American Society on Aging. She will serve as Co-Chair for the 2008 East Coast Aging Conference.

About Rita Files

Ms. Files is a nationally recognized “subject matter expert” on the knowledge and skills needed for working with the elderly. She has over 28 years in the healthcare industry, with 16 years focused primarily on eldercare. Her background includes program development for many leading providers in the senior living industry. Ms. Files works with families to make eldercare transitions a peaceful process rather than an emotional roller coaster.  With her partner, Patricia Grace, they have developed an innovative approach to provide the services and resources needed by today’s working caregivers.

In addition to her nursing experience, Ms. Files holds both state and national certifications in Assisted Living Administration and is a Certified Senior Advisor® through The Society of Certified Senior Advisors™, a Member of the Case Management Society of America, and the American Society on Aging.

Contact Information

Phone: 800-626-9440

Elias Papasavvas Describes the Unique Benefits of a Senior Line of Credit (Podcast)

How Elias Papasavvas Describes Elder Life Financial

I believe that deep down just about every one of us is willing to give back to our parents. They were there holding our hands when we were young and vulnerable and now, when asked to hold theirs, I believe we do so, and gladly. It may not be simple, it may not be easy, but it is so.  I remember the happiness which would envelop me as a young boy whenever I kicked the ball with my dad, or enjoyed my mom’s cooking after playing all day, and having her rub my head saying I was a good kid that day. It’s the simple memories that over time, transcribe a fascinating family story.

I founded Elderlife Financial Services in the year 2000 with the spirit of helping families give back to their parents.  The banking industry at large neither understands the depth of complex family dynamics involved in caring for a loved one, nor does it know how to expediently and wholly service the family members involved in what is frequently a family decision – what to do for mom or dad.  And frequently associated with that family decision, is the issue of how to pay for things.  While there are numerous professional advisors serving useful and much needed roles, there were few consumer financing options available to help a family pay for senior living and designed to respond to the family as a unit throughout the entire care-giving journey.

Thus was born Elderlife Financial Services, and the Elderlife Line of Credit for Senior Living. Elderlife’s mission is to help families honor their parents.  We do so by helping seniors and their families access the senior living of their choice through simple, convenient financial options we create with thought and care. Frequently the Elderlife Line of Credit is used as an immediate funding bridge to help a loved one move into a private pay assisted living community until a home is sold, veterans benefits arrive, or if a family simply wants breathing room and time to make the move now. Elderlife enables families the breathing room to take their time before making financial decisions that could have long-term implications.

Often, the product is not what makes Elderlife unique (i.e., a line of credit is a line of credit and thousands of banks offer one).  Rather, it is the way with which Elderlife serves multiple family members, the speed with which it responds to the family’s need, the counseling and empathy it understands to lend in the process, the collaboration with senior care advisors and financial planners during a loved one’s move to senior living, and the “little things” that are helpful as a family is in the midst of a thousand other worries on behalf of a loved one.  This is but an inkling of what we do for families.

Today, the Elderlife Line of Credit is accepted in 2,500 senior living communities across the nation and Elderlife is the national leader in helping families finance their loved ones assisted living costs. And yet, I wake up every day rushing to work, knowing there is still so much more for us to do in our quest to help families honor their parents.

About Elias Papasavvas

Elias is the founder and chief executive officer of Elderlife Financial Services LLC.  Elias has focused his career on enhancing access to senior living.  He spent over a decade studying the impact and proper administration of consumer financing in higher education and numerous other service- and product-oriented industries prior to creating a consumer financing program for senior living. Today, Elderlife is accepted in over 2,500 senior living communities nationwide.  Elderlife’s uniqueness lies in its understanding of the various, and at times competing, needs of the senior housing provider and the family.

Before entering the senior living industry, Elias was a CPA in the Banking and Real Estate Mid-Atlantic Division of Arthur Andersen. He holds a B.S. degree from George Mason University and a Master’s of Science in Accounting from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. Elias also serves on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Assisted Living Association and on the Advisory Board of the George Mason University Assisted Living program.  Elias is a frequent speaker at aging and senior living conferences on the need for affordable access to senior living and is viewed as a respected authority on the field of consumer financing for senior living.

Ellen Dunnigan Provides Dementia Care and “Relief” With Sollievo (Podcast)

Ellen Dunnigan combines dementia care with a 360-degree home care philosophy to provide a unique option for families struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The Sollievo model is one of many unique care models that are emerging as we grapple with how to care for our elders. What I found interesting about Ellen’s approach is her keen attention on serving the seniors AND providing stress relief to the family.
How Ellen Describes Sollievo

Sollievo is a care management network for families caring for an aging parent. We provide expert answers and relief to the daughters and sons who have taken on the exhausting caregiving of a parent who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.

Typically we guide daughters who are trying to be both SuperMom and SuperDaughter, doing one job all day and then coming home in the evening to start the even tougher job.

They are stressed out, tired of being tired, and feeling guilty; consumed with trying to be the “answer” to everyone including their siblings in other states. They wish someone else could help them without getting in the way. And they need just-in-time resources to safely keep their mother or father at home longer.

Our process begins with a three-pronged assessment of the living environment, the well-being of the person diagnosed with dementia, and the burdens placed on family caregivers. We supply education and clarify expectations. We tailor strategies to make the days and nights better. Our 24/7 helpline is always answered live to address their immediate concerns. And most importantly we deliver the “just right” answers and network of services the first time, and every time.
About Ellen Dunnigan

As a strategist healthcare product development, and a Speech-Language Pathologist, Ellen Dunnigan has produced several healthcare product lines including Alzheimer’s care, Geri-psych programs, diabetes care, traumatic brain injury programs, and others. She has developed a balanced model of Alzheimer’s care for the long-term care segment which guides caregivers to exceptional results in patient care and meaningful resident days. Additionally, she has initiated a first-of-its-kind community model for the coordinated care of families caring for an aging parent diagnosed with dementia.

Ellen has a Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology, certification in gerontology and case management. She is the author of several best practice clinical and operational methods in Alzheimer’s care and speaks internationally. She founded Alzheimer’s Care Group in 2002 and has grown it to a nationwide consulting firm specializing in healthcare strategy. Alzheimer’s Care Group has five associates and operates in care settings in 30 states. Their community resource network is called “Sollievo” and operates throughout Indiana, with plans to expand to neighboring states.
Contact Information

Sollievo office: 317-218-5111
24-hour Helpline: 317-753-7447

Laurie Widmark and Ageless Dreamer Make Seniors Terminally Alive (Podcast)

What is Ageless Dreamer?

The mission of Ageless Dreamer is to make long held, heartfelt dreams come true for our oldest generation, encouraging them to dream out loud, enhancing their quality of life.

A 501(c)3 non profit organization, Ageless Dreamer is of the mindset that just because someone is part of our oldest generation it doesn’t mean they still don’t dream. In essence, we act as a catalyst to remind adult children and caregivers to remember to ask their elders: Do you have a dream?   And then listen closely.

The “Why” Behind Ageless Dream

(In Laurie’s words)

Sometime late in  2000, I went to the mailbox and pulled out my invitation addressed from AARP – no definition required.  Friends had joked about it earlier when they, themselves, received what was noted as the first piece of dreaded mail alerting you to the fact that you would soon turn the ripe old age of fifty.

Even though I didn’t feel or look any different, the message became clear:  AARP had found me.  I couldn’t identify with it and certainly wouldn’t acknowledge being a member of it.  It was then that I knew there had to be another way to bridge from age 49 to 50 and feel confident there was energy and life beyond. If I didn’t or couldn’t do it, who would?

As I pondered possibilities, I was keenly  aware of my Dad’s words when I was in my twenties:  “You’re a dreamer”.  And it sure didn’t sound to me as though it was a complement.  In my forties, spending time with my women friends, they would sometimes look at me with love, of course, and laugh with me at my dreaming.  I had many failed entrepreneurial adventures before, why would they hold out any hope for this one?

Deep down inside I knew I was a dreamer despite, or in spite of my age.  A short few years (that really felt like decades) after loosing my youngest daughter to suicide at the young age of 23, I knew that there was nothing that could squelch my own dream except any fears I let fester.

To keep a longer story short, one day, after struggling to move the kernel of an idea forward, the name fell into place, more out of self identification than selflessness: Ageless Dreamer®.  I envisioned a socially responsible company that moved its net profits into a foundation that would then shed a different light on our oldest population.– which, dare say, I was quickly becoming a part of.  In my mind: What if they gave up the possibility of dreaming?  Who would I be at age 85 or 90 or 100?

The history and original concept for Ageless Dreamer® goes back to 2001 and, although the idea and research proved it could be “brilliant and cutting edge”, it lacked the mechanism to make it work. Boxes of file folders filled with research and a brief business plan were tucked away to “nest awhile”, but not to be forgotten. Those patient business folk who I had review it finally said: “…but how will it become self sustainable?” It was a stab of entrepreneurial truth that left a gap of bewilderment and gratefulness at the same time. After all, that’s why I had invited these” wise business men and women” to review it in the first place.  But it still felt like a mosquito that sucks the blood out of you and leaves you with an itch for days.

In 2004, the idea for Ageless Dreamer® as a business was again discussed over and over again, until an “Ah Ha” moment occurred, that seemed so simple. It wasn’t meant to be a for-profit business after all, but rather a non-profit organization – Ageless Dreamer Foundation.

Over the years, it became even more important to note that the present definition of the word Foundation, (borrowed from the unabridged edition of the Random House Dictionary) is:

  1. That on which something is founded;
  2. The basis or groundwork of anything;
  3. The natural or prepared ground or base on which some structure rests;
  4. State of being founded; and
  5. Superstructure.

In the future we anticipate our definition of the word Foundation will expand to include:

A donation or legacy for the support of an institution or organization; an endowment.

Four years, six months, and approximately 26 days later, we venture on to mold and remold the future of Ageless Dreamer.  Magical dreams unfolding continue to happen although the strong economic current is taking her off course and is trying to take the wind out of her sails. Ageless Dreamer takes to the helm. We tighten down the hatches and continue to navigate through these choppy economic waters. The black hole is still and scary as the bills arrive in the mailbox and the donations slim. We reef the sails (pulling down to a minimum to reduce the wind), so it doesn’t rock us to death, and continue to manage the ship using a modern day GPS to get her back on course.

Old age will always be around. And like a captain with his sturdy ship, Ageless Dreamer will sail on into the horizon looking back only to see how far it has come – one day at a time, one dream at a time.

About Laurie Widmark

Laurie Widmark is the founder and currently the volunteer CEO of the Ageless Dreamer Foundation, Dover, NH.

A licensed NH Real Estate Broker, she owns and operates Three Crowns Real Estate (Dover, NH). In June 2008, Laurie received the New Hampshire Association of Good Neighbor Award for her work with Ageless Dreamer.

Selected as one of five Hero’s by Family Circle Magazine, Laurie was featured in the July 2008 edition.

A Rotarian, Laurie received the Paul Harris Fellow in August 2008.

Laurie is often asked to speak at various hospital and caregiver associations, Rotary Clubs, Retirement and Assisted Living facilities, Churches, and other places that yearn to hear of inspiring stories on ageing well.

A new author, Laurie is currently writing a book for caregivers and adult children that  will be published before the end of the year.

Married to an amazingly supportive husband, Peter, they blend five children and four grandchildren.  Laurie dreams of being able to travel this country with their motor home and opening Ageless Dreamer affiliates in every state.