Comprehensive Planning. Lifelong Solutions.

Is PACE a Good Option For Your Loved One?

by Jessica A. Hayes, Esq.

September 5, 2014

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Our senior clients often tell us that they want to remain in their homes for as long as possible.  Home is comfortable, familiar, and for many, more appealing than moving to a facility.  To avoid institutionalization, many will seek in-home care when they require assistance with their daily activities.  There is another great alternative that is not as widely known, however — Virginia PACE.

The Virginia Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is a comprehensive healthcare and supportive services program for seniors who wish to remain in their homes.  PACE exists to give qualifying adults, age 55 and older, the option of living in their homes as an alternative to moving to a skilled nursing facility, while taking advantage of many resources that might otherwise be unavailable to them or difficult for them to access.  This allows individuals with chronic care needs to have those needs met while remaining in a familiar environment and preserving their independence, and it helps to avoid what can sometimes be a difficult transition to living within a facility.  Although PACE is an approved Medicare and Medicaid provider, individuals may also pay privately to receive PACE’s services.

Some of the many services PACE provides include the following: transportation, meals, medical and rehabilitative services, pharmaceutical services, and socialization.  Once an individual is enrolled in PACE, he or she can receive all necessary health services through the program.  Most care is delivered at the PACE center, where individuals enjoy meals, snacks, medical care, and recreational and social activities.  PACE provides transportation to and from the center each day.  Each PACE center has its own adult day care center, physician(s), clinic, pharmacy, nursing unit, and specialty services (for example, dentistry, podiatry, cardiology, psychiatry, vision care, and hearing services).

PACE is guided by several federal and state regulations which require that a comprehensive range of services be provided to help minimize health problems and maximize independence.  An inter-disciplinary team (IDT) comprising of several professionals (including, but not limited to, a physician, registered nurse, occupational and physical therapists, a home care coordinator, and a social worker) work with the individual and his or her spouse to coordinate services that are medically necessary or requested.

In order to be enrolled in PACE, an individual must generally be age 55 or older, be able to live safely in the community, and reside within the PACE organization service area.  Individuals desiring to enroll in PACE must be pre-screened using the Virginia Uniform Assessment Instrument (UAI), and must generally require assistance with several activities of daily living (i.e., walking and standing, feeding, dressing, bathing, toileting, and continence).  Screenings may be completed by the local Department of Social Services, the local Department of Health, or a hospital from which the individual is being discharged.

Within the Hampton Roads area, PACE is currently available for residents of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, and Newport News.  For more information on the PACE program, or to learn about how you or your loved one may qualify for PACE, contact the Hook Law Center today.

ask kitkat logoGopher Tortoises

Hook Law Center:  Kit Kat, what are gopher tortoises and where do they live?

Kit Kat:  Gopher tortoises are some of the most innocent creatures on the planet. They frequently live in Florida and other parts of the southeastern US. They live in upland areas such as forests and fields. In size, they range from 12-16 pounds. They are really important to the ecosystem of that area, because they are what is considered a keystone species. They live underground in tunnels which are marked by an above ground burrow resembling a grey, half-moon. These burrows “provide shelter for more than 300 animals and insects, such as snakes, mice, toads, and black widow spiders.” The tunnels are quite deep, sometimes as much as 15 feet, with many twists and turns for as long as 40 feet. The tortoises spend about 80% of their time underground.

The problem comes in when new land is developed, especially for houses. In Florida, slab construction is often used. An area can be cleared without realizing that the slab is being placed right on top of a gopher tortoise burrow/tunnel. Without intervention, these tortoises become trapped underground, and die a slow death from dehydration, starvation, and suffocation. The species is now listed as threatened in Florida.

So now thanks to many activists and the Humane Society, projects are underway in Florida to rescue these creatures before a new development is undertaken. The work is slow. A backhoe is used first to loosen the top layer of soil and plants. Then, workers must take a shovel and sift through the debris for signs of the gopher tortoise. Once rescued, they and other small creatures such as toads, are packed in large containers with some of the soil from their habitat and moved to another location such as a nature preserve.

Thank you once again to the Humane Society of America for doing such tremendous work!

(Michael Sharp, “Digging for their Lives,” All Animals, September/October 2014, p. 16-23)

Upcoming Events

  • Hook Law Center will be participating in Senior Advocate’s Art of Healthy Aging Series held at Westminster Canterbury, 3100 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach  VA  23451.  This series will be held once a month from July through December.  HLC Attorneys Andrew H. HookJessica A. Hayes and Shannon Laymon-Pecoraro will provide an overview of Hook Law Center’s Practice Areas at the meetings held on Tuesday, October 2, 2014 at 10:00 amTuesday, November 4, 2014 at 10:00 am, and Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 10:00 am.  We look forward to seeing you there!
  • Andrew H. Hook  has been invited to appear on a taping of  “The Forum with Jan Callahan,” a WHRO-produced public service program, to discuss the importance of attending the Art of Healthy Aging Convention at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in November and to discuss his seminar to be held during the convention.  More details to come!
  • Andrew H. Hook and Shannon Laymon-Pecoraro will be presenting a seminar on the Affordable Care Act to the Marcari Law Firm on November 12, 2014 at Noon. 

Distribution of This Newsletter

Hook Law Center encourages you to share this newsletter with anyone who is interested in issues pertaining to the elderly, the disabled and their advocates. The information in this newsletter may be copied and distributed, without charge and without permission, but with appropriate citation to Hook Law Center, P.C. If you are interested in a free subscription to the Hook Law Center News, then please telephone us at 757-399-7506, e-mail us at mail@hooklawcenter.com or fax us at 757-397-1267.

This report is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this report accurate, Hook Law Center assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information in this report.

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