The United States will face an unprecedented challenge in the next few decades as the baby boomer generation grows older. The increased number of elderly individuals will be in need of more health services provided by more workers than are currently in the elderly care field.
The private, non-profit Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) was created to combat this problem. By May, a PACE clinic will break ground in Albion.
The center will be located on B Drive just west of Oaklawn Hospital’s dialysis center building.
The goal of the PACE program is to provide a community for those 55 and older to ensure that they maintain independence in their homes as an alternative to entering a nursing home. PACE supplies many healthcare needs to an individual, allowing them to remain in their community.
The upcoming PACE clinic will provide medical and social services to Albion residents. These services, covered by Medicare and Medicaid, are for people that require acute care, post-acute care, outpatient care and other forms of assistance to help individuals remain in their homes.
Some of the provided services will include physician health checks, fitness classes and home-delivered meals.
At the moment, the closest PACE clinic to Albion is located in Battle Creek. That branch will expand to Albion.
“That center [in Battle Creek] is designed, space wise, to accommodate up to 300 people, and we’re hitting capacity.” said Laura Ferrara, chief strategy officer and director of marketing/enrollment for the PACE clinic in Battle Creek. “More importantly, we understand the healthcare needs and lack of healthcare in some respect for the population that we serve in Albion.”
Right now, there is a bus service that runs from the Homer/Albion area to the day-center in Battle Creek.
“The bus-ride [to the day-center] is not convenient and uncomfortable, so we thought that if we could create a space in Albion to meet those needs,” said Ferrara. “It would be better for the individuals living there.”
To be eligible for the PACE’s Albion program, an individual must be over the age of 55, live in Albion or Homer and require nursing home level care as determined by a physician.
“I can’t tell you how excited we are to be in Albion especially knowing that the demographics there… there is a significant population that is underserved right now and we can do a great job serving them,” said Ferrara.
Oaklawn Hospital is excited for PACE’s future, too.
“Oaklawn is thrilled to have them leasing and renovating our building and bringing additional healthcare services to Albion” said Oaklawn’s executive director of legal and community affairs Richard Lindsey.
A tentative grand opening is slated for Oct. 1.