On August 1, 2012, St. Paul’s PACE www.StPaulsPACE.org, founded by San Diego non-profit St. Paul’s Senior Homes & Services, opens the doors of its new 17,400 square foot facility, located at 630 L Street in Chula Vista. St. Paul’s PACE is a health plan for seniors age 55 and older who prefer not to move into a nursing home, but whose medical problems make it impossible for them to stay at home without help from doctors, nurses, social workers and home caregivers. PACE is designed specifically to offer an alternative to institutional living for seniors who live in San Diego and are eligible for nursing home level of care as certified by the California Department of Health Care Services.
PACE plans to provide services to the estimated 2,356 low-income seniors in the San Diego region who suffer from chronic illnesses. The expansion of PACE to the South Bay and East County region will enable its medically complex and disabled members to access comprehensive medical care, physical and occupational therapy. The new facility will be able to accommodate about 250 PACE Participants. While the new building is in Chula Vista, the State has approved an expanded service area so that St. Paul’s PACE can also serve seniors in the East County.
“Because we provide transportation” explains Cheryl Wilson, St. Paul’s CEO, “we can pick seniors up from their homes in Lakeside, El Cajon and La Mesa and provide medical care from our central location on Elm Street. Seniors in San Ysidro, National City, Chula Vista and other South County areas will be served from Chula Vista.”
The philosophy of PACE,” said Carol Hubbard, St. Paul’s PACE Executive Director, “is to enhance the quality of life and independence of frail, older adults by providing services that help them stay in the community. We have a particular interest in providing staff sensitive to the culturally diverse needs of the San Diego community. Our goal is to maximize dignity and respect while preserving and supporting the family.
The new PACE facility offers three day center rooms including a chapel area, movie room, atrium and dining area. Interior design and furnishings will come from donations from the organization’s LUV gala fund raiser. PACE accepts Medi-CAL, a combination of Medi-CAL and Medicare or private payments and has bi-lingual enrollment specialists available to assist with applications.
Seniors qualify for PACE if they are 55 years of age or older, live in the San Diego Central, South or East County, are determined by the Department of Health Care Services as needing nursing home services, and are able to live in a community setting without jeopardizing their health or safety.
Current PACE Participant, Walter Weiss, says PACE can sound too good to be true because of all the services he receives for free. Because he is on Medi-Cal he doesn’t pay out of pocket to receive PACE services “Even my medications are free,” He explains. “And they come to my home three times a week to do my laundry and cleaning.” Weiss also receives physical therapy, meals and medical management at the PACE center. He attends the day center regularly for socialization and for meals.
PACE is ideal for those who are eligible for Medi-Cal or a combination of Medi-Cal and Medicare. If qualified members have Medi-Cal with no share of cost, there is no out of pocket cost for PACE services. Those members with a Medi-Cal share of cost, it is paid monthly to St. Paul’s PACE.