Before she was CEO and president of the Los Angeles Jewish Home, Molly Forrest regularly flew between Southern California and Oregon to care for her mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and was not able to participate in local in-home service programs that targeted the financially needy.
A program that aided in simple tasks such as providing transportation to and from appointments and helped filling prescriptions would have made a significant difference to her and her mother, who otherwise lived independently, Forrest said.
Now, years later, Forrest is looking at a new way to deliver a nursing-home level of care to independent seniors. On Feb. 1, the Jewish Home will open its Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a Medicare- and Medi-Cal-sponsored federal program that provides an exhaustive list of health care services to those seniors whose needs fall into a gray area between independent living and residential care.
“A program like PACE is so needed and so appreciated,” Forrest said.
The Jewish Home began accepting applications on Jan. 2, and more than 75 have been received to date.
As part of the PACE program, the Home opened the first of its Brandman Centers for Senior Care (BCSC) at its Grancell Village Campus in Reseda. BCSC, inside of which PACE will operate, is located in an area that previously housed the Annenberg School of Nursing. The school has relocated across the street to the Home’s Hirsch Family Campus.
Eligible PACE clients must be 55 or older, meet the requirements for long-term care as determined by the California Department of Health Care Services and live independently in a PACE service area. In this case, that includes a number of San Fernando Valley and Conejo Valley communities.
Developed in the early 1970s in San Francisco, PACE is a “proven model of integrated care for the senior population, offering comprehensive, interdisciplinary services,” said Peter Hansel, executive director of CalPACE, the statewide association of PACE programs.
PACE services will include primary and specialty medical care, including vision, dental, hearing and podiatric services; prescription drugs; laboratory and diagnostic services; medical supplies and equipment; nursing and preventative care; and physical, occupational and speech therapies. Nutrition services that range from meal planning for special diets to meals at the Centers or home delivery will be available as well.
While at the BCSC, patients also may rest between appointments in a place dubbed the “Quiet Room” or take a bath. The program covers ambulance services, hospital care, home health care, and transportation to and from the Centers.
“We just pick you up and take you straight to the site,” Forrest said.
PACE is part of the Jewish Home’s ongoing expansion efforts, which include opening a 2.5-acre facility in Playa Vista within the next four years. Forrest said there are plans to establish a second BCSC location in West Los Angeles by 2016.
As recently as September, the Jewish Home — provider for more than 1,000 in-residence seniors and 1,600 others in the community — faced an 18-month-long waiting list of roughly 400 people. By launching PACE, something Forrest said was five years in the making, the Jewish Home will be able to serve 300 to 400 additional seniors every year at each BCSC location.
Aided by supplemental programs provided by the Home that include hospice and palliative care, PACE, Forrest believes, will be a boon to the Jewish Home’s mission.
“Our goal of [serving] 5,000 seniors by 2015 is a very realistic goal,” she said.
For more information about PACE or applications, call (855) 774-8444 (toll-free) or (818) 774-3194 (TTY).