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CalPACE honors Assemblymember Toni Atkins for contributions to senior health care

SAN DIEGO -- Toni Atkins, Assemblymember from California’s 76th Assembly District, received the fifth annual Legislator of the Year Award from CalPACE to recognize her many contributions to the health and well-being of California seniors, especially her support for PACE, Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly.

The award will be presented at a ceremony on Friday, Nov. 2, at St. Paul’s PACE in downtown San Diego.

PACE is a uniquely comprehensive way of providing long-term health care and social services for frail seniors with complex medical needs and functional limitations. As an alternative to nursing home care, PACE is a cost-effective health plan that results in better outcomes and higher quality of life for low-income people older than 55 who qualify for nursing home care but wish to live in their own home as long as medically and socially feasible. CalPACE represents all California PACE organizations and assists new ones to develop.

In San Diego, St. Paul’s PACE, which opened in 2008, has served more than 300 seniors in San Diego, keeping them safe and independent in their homes. The program recently opened a new facility in San Diego’s South Bay region. The organization has reduced hospitalizations for PACE seniors by 79% - hospitalizations are a large Medi-Cal expense -- and reduced their risk of fall by 23%.

Peter Hansel, executive director of CalPACE, commended Atkins for authoring AB 2206 ,which would have required the California Department of Health Care Services to include PACE as one of the alternatives to Medi-Cal managed care in the eight counties where the California Coordinated Care Initiative pilot is starting. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

“Assemblymember Atkins has a distinguished record of advocating strongly for the rights of frail seniors,” Hansel said, “and this legislation would have been an important step in securing the health and well-being of our elderly population.”

"This bill,” Atkins said, “would have ensured that the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly is available to beneficiaries whenever managed care enrollment options are presented under the dual-eligible pilot programs.”
The idea, Atkins said, is to make sure beneficiaries know about PACE and the program option is included in all Coordinated Care Initiative mailings, informational seminars, and training.

"PACE programs were designed to keep frail seniors out of nursing homes and keep them living in their communities," Atkins said. "PACE generates cost savings for Medi-Cal. It is up to 40% less expensive than the cost of a nursing home."

Atkins was elected in November 2010 and represents the 76th Assembly District, which includes the central and northern San Diego communities of Clairemont, Bay Park, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Tierrasanta, Serra Mesa, Hillcrest, University Heights, North Park, South Park, Linda Vista, Mission Valley, City Heights, Old Town, Normal Heights, Mission Hills and Downtown San Diego.

About CalPACE

CalPACE, the California PACE Association, is a 501(c)(6) association dedicated to the expansion of comprehensive health care services to seniors with chronic care needs through the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). Through education and advocacy, CalPACE members strive to support, maintain, and safeguard the PACE model and promote high-quality health care services to California's seniors. For additional information, please visit HERE.
About St. Paul’s PACE

St. Paul’s PACE provides a caring network of medical and social services which promotes independence, dignity and pride and enables our participants to live at home in the community with friends and family. For additional information, please visit HERE.

About St. Paul’s Senior Homes & Services

Since 1960, St. Paul's Senior Homes & Services has been dedicated to serving the physical, spiritual and social needs of the elderly and community. St. Paul's provides affordable, innovative and comprehensive programs in a non-denominational environment with great value placed on optimal independence at all stages of life. Communities include independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, an intergenerational day care program, a memory care unit and the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). For additional information, please visit HERE.

Photo captions

Top left: Assemblymember Toni Atkins and state Sen. Christine Kehoe

Bottom left: Cheryl Wilson, St. Paul’s PACE CEO, Assemblymember Toni Atkins and Peter Hansel, executive director of CalPACE