Last year, for-profit companies were given the green light to provide care for seniors under Medicare’s PACE program, which previously funded only non-profits. Following the change, many are left wondering if private companies are well-suited to the job of taking care of the elderly, largely because of the potential for abuse.
The goal of PACE, or the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, is to help older Americans remain in their own homes longer by providing comprehensive medical care and social support. It also promises to save Medicare and Medicaid millions of dollars by keeping the elderly out of nursing homes for a flat fee.
Originally, government funding for the program was only given to non-profits such as church organizations, local community organizations and the like. However, in anticipation of the growing demand for care for aging boomers, the government opened the program to for-profit companies hoping to expand services for the elderly faster.
Although the new opportunity has generated a lot of enthusiasm among entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, concerns run deep. Many feel that the influx of commercial operators into the program will result in companies skimping on care or simply cherry picking patients as witnessed in commercially-run hospice and nursing home facilities already. In fact, some correlate the epidemic neglect and abuse in nursing homes directly to the shift to commercialization of those industries decades ago.
Despite the reservations, newly-funded, for-profit PACE care facilities will likely spread rapidly across the country to answer the increasing need for affordable care for seniors. Hopefully, private companies who dive in will be able to provide the quality home care our families deserve.
If you or a family member has suffered nursing home abuse or neglect in an Iowa nursing home or other care facility, contact the Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help.
Source: The New York Times, “Private Equity’s Stake in Keeping the Elderly Home”, by Sarah Varney, August 21, 2016.
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