Long-empty Richmond property to become care center for elderly

November 15th, 2018

A long-empty property on Richmond’s west side will be used to meet a growing health care need for senior citizens in the area.

Reid Health purchased the former County Market building in Kings Plaza with plans to remodel a portion of it into a Medicare-Medicaid center known as PACE – Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly.

“This effort is in response to a growing need to provide a coordinated care option for community members who otherwise might require going to a nursing home or other care facility,” said Billie Kester, Reid Health Vice President. The center will offer care that includes primary care, rehabilitation, adult day services, and transportation.

“PACE centers are designed to meet very specific needs for certain community members, and we see this as a great addition to community services designed to keep eligible individuals living healthier and longer in their home environment,” Kester said. The center will be the first PACE in the region. Two other centers are serving patients in Indiana with a few others in the process of application.

The center will provide an alternative to nursing home care for people who are eligible but want to remain in their home as long as possible. “Our service area has an increasingly aging population. Broadening our services into this type of center will help maintain independence for more of our residents who qualify.”

According to National Pace Association, the PACE care model is centered on the belief that it is better for the well-being of seniors with chronic care needs and their families to be served in the community when possible. The Association says the PACE model of care dates to the early 1970s when the Chinatown-North Beach community of San Francisco saw pressing needs for long-term care services by families who had immigrated from Italy, China and the Philippines. The result was the formation of a nonprofit corporation called On Lok Senior Health Services to provide a community-based system of care. “On Lok” is Cantonese for “peaceful, happy abode.”

The PACE model was established as a permanently recognized provider type by Medicare and Medicaid in 1997; and as of 2017, there were 122 programs established in 31 states. Kester notes that the National PACE Association hopes to grow PACE to serve 100,000 participants by 2021 and 200,000 by 2028.

To qualify for PACE, the patients must:

  • Be 55 or older
  • Live within a zip code of a county in the specified service area which will include Wayne, Fayette, Union, Henry, Randolph, and Franklin Counties
  • Need a nursing home-level of care (as certified by the state)
  • Be able to live safely in the community with help from PACE

Patrick Anderson, M.D., who is assisting with the PACE project,  said the new service is important “because it provides comprehensive and coordinated care for a group of people with medical and social needs that would take them out of their homes, otherwise.” He cited the program’s benefits that include medicine affordability, concentrated care for medical problems that can be given extra attention and better care coordination, transportation assistance, dental care and more.

Craig Kinyon, Reid Health President/CEO, said the center fits perfectly into the health system’s mission of improving access to care and meeting the needs of community members who sometimes have limited options and resources. “We exist with a mission of providing comprehensive care that addresses wholeness – body, mind and spirit. We are always seeking new and better ways to provide the care our residents need.”

PACE services may include such things as:

  • Adult day care that includes nursing; physical, occupational and recreational therapies; meals, nutrition counseling; social work and personal care
  • Medical care by a PACE physician who knows the patient’s history, needs and preferences
  • Medical specialties such as audiology, dentistry, optometry, podiatry and speech therapy
  • Respite care

Remodeling and construction begins soon with a goal of having the center serving patients by the end of 2019.