Concerning the program of all-inclusive care for the elderly, or PACE program
Senate Bill 12-23
Testimony to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee
Robert Semro, policy analyst, the Bell Policy Center
Feb. 2, 2012
My name is Robert Semro, and I am a policy analyst with the Bell Policy Center. The Bell is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to expanding opportunity for all Coloradans.
The Bell Policy Center supports Senate Bill 12-23. Colorado faces significant future challenges in providing long-term care for its aging population. We have a mere 17 years before the full brunt of that challenge reaches its peak impact. To face those challenges, Colorado must utilize every available option. Any effort that creates a level playing field for programs like PACE (Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) and better advises Coloradans of the options afforded to them has the potential for real benefit.
Accountable care organizations, accountable care collaboratives and other managed-care organizations will play an ever more important role in meeting the need of Colorado's elderly and disabled population. To exclude the discussion of the benefits and limitations of the PACE program in that context is to do a disservice to those consumers. To be sure, PACE does not represent the ideal solution for all eligible Coloradans, but for many it will.
Passive enrollment of eligible individuals into the Regional Care Collaborative Organization (RCCO) project without informing those enrollees of the existence of the PACE option or the potential benefits of the program creates an unlevel playing field that will affect potential and existing PACE enrollees. Potential enrollees may remain unaware of all of their available options, and existing PACE enrollees may have that program exposed to longer-term risk. In order for non-profit organizations to continue to invest in communities, they require some level of assurance that these programs will not be ended or be subjected to ever decreasing enrollment.
For both the state and consumers, PACE has proven to be a practical and cost-effective program that has provided optimal care for its target population while at the same time allowing frail individuals to live in their communities as independently as possible. In its latest form, Senate Bill 23 does not bestow additional advantages on the PACE program but rather allows the program to remain an effective option.
We urge you to support this bill, and the sponsor's latest amendments to the legislation. Thank you for the opportunity to share this testimony with you today.