Committee Approves Walorski Bill to Help Seniors Live at Home

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Committee Approves Walorski Bill to Help Seniors Live at Home

Ways and Means Sends Bipartisan Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act to House Floor

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded Ways and Means Committee passage of the Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act, her bipartisan legislation to speed up the modernization of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which allow seniors with complex care needs to continue living at home.

“Seniors facing health challenges should have the option to receive high-quality health care while continuing to live at home, and the PACE program helps them do that,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “St. Joseph PACE in Mishawaka has proven this model of care is effective in improving health outcomes and quality of life. The PACE program is long overdue for an update, and this bipartisan, commonsense legislation will ensure improvements are made quickly so more seniors can live at home longer.”

Video of Walorski speaking at today’s committee markup is available here. The full text of her remarks is below.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to urge my colleagues to support H.R. 6561, the Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act of 2018. I introduced this bipartisan legislation with Representatives Jenkins, Chu, Blumenauer, and Kind. I want to thank them for their hard work on this bill and their previous work on this issue.

“The Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, commonly known as PACE, is a proven model for delivering high-quality, comprehensive, integrated, and coordinated community-based health care for seniors. It helps seniors whose health conditions would otherwise land them in a nursing home to remain in the community for as long as possible by allowing them to see health professionals and social service providers at local PACE centers.

“In 2016, CMS released a proposed rule to update the original guidelines from 2006. This much-needed update would allow PACE programs to customize their interdisciplinary team around the needs of each enrollee, provide more services in community settings outside of a PACE center, and give greater flexibility to partner with community providers.

“H.R. 6561 requires the Secretary of HHS to finalize updated regulations for PACE by the end of this year while still giving the Secretary the flexibility to make updates and changes to the proposed regulation.

“Seniors facing health challenges should have the option to receive high-quality health care while continuing to live at home, and the PACE program helps them do that. St. Joseph PACE in Mishawaka, Indiana, has proven this model of care is effective in improving health outcomes and quality of life. The PACE program is long overdue for an update, and this bipartisan, commonsense legislation will ensure improvements are made quickly so more seniors can live at home longer.

“I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.”

BACKGROUND

Walorski recently joined U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), and Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and U.S. Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) in introducing the bipartisan, bicameral legislation.

H.R. 6561 / S. 3338 would require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to finalize updated regulations for PACE programs by the end of the year. PACE is a proven model for delivering high-quality, comprehensive, integrated, and coordinated community-based health care to seniors and individuals with disabilities who meet the criteria for nursing home care but wish to live at home.

Currently, 124 PACE organizations across 31 states serve more than 45,000 people. Trinity Health operates St. Joseph PACE, which serves Hoosiers at a center in Mishawaka.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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