A regional center dedicated to providing affordable health and social services to the elderly will soon be located in McPherson.

A regional center dedicated to providing affordable health and social services to the elderly will soon be located in McPherson.
Bluestem Communities, the company awarded a contract known as the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (also known as PACE) by the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services, is working with an architect in developing the almost $1.5 million facility. The center is going to be located at Ash and Elizabeth Streets (the old Midway Motors building) and is estimated to have 30 employees.
To build and effectively run the program will cost about $4 million. The project needs about $300,000 to get the McPherson center off the ground. Fundraising is underway.
“We recognize the growing demand for services and the inability of the government to continue to pay for it,” said Chris Scott, special project coordinator for Bluestem. “It is estimated that 44 percent of people will need long-term care in their lives.”
PACE is a Medicare program with a Medicaid state option established in 1997 by the Balanced Budget Act. It is designed to provide people 55 years and older with individually tailored care plans intended to keep them living at home for as long as possible. Only about 7 percent of current PACE clients live in long-term care facilities. The rest reside in their own houses, said Shawn Sullivan, Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services secretary.
“The concept behind PACE is the federal government and the state pay a set amount to a provider who is responsible to take care of all a person’s health needs,” Sullivan said. “The rate incentivizes keeping people at home, to remain independent while still managing their chronic conditions.”
On April 2, Sullivan announced the intent to expand the PACE program from eight counties to 59. This expansion is a combined effort between state and the National PACE Association. Upon completion of the expansion, it will be the largest of its kind in Kansas. It has been a very successful program in Kansas and 180 sites across the country, he said.
Upon the expansion announcement, it was determined that McPherson would be a good location for a primary center. Remote care centers will be opened in other counties, and mobile centers also are planned. McPherson was chosen because of its highway infrastructure and central location, which is in close proximity to an estimated 70 percent of PACE-eligible people. Travel to receive care is included in the services provided by the center.
“We are excited about the supportive nature of the McPherson community and its people,” Scott said. “McPherson was chosen for its progressive business climate and the community’s commitment to caring for the underserved.”
The facility will provide a variety of services to the elderly. An 11-person interdisciplinary team will meet and talk with clients on a regular basis to develop care plans. Clients will be able to visit the center as often as they want for various services, such as primary care, hospital care, meals, dentistry, social services and adult day care. There is an estimated 11,900 people in Kansas who are clinically and financially eligible for PACE services. Studies have shown a 30 to 35 percent individual mortality drop within the first year of implementation of PACE.
“Our goal is to help people live their lives out in the community and at home safely, rather than in a nursing home,” Scott said. “Ninety-one percent of individuals in the program achieve that outcome.”
For more information on the PACE program and information on donating, contact Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services at 1-800-432-3535.