Armstrong Bill to Eliminate Wait-List for Specialized Senior Care Program to be Heard in Committee

Armstrong Bill to Eliminate Wait-List
for Specialized Senior Care Program to be Heard in Committee

Expanding PACE – Offered Through Medicare & Medicaid -- Would Meet Community Needs

 Rep. Deborah Armstrong’s bill to expand New Mexico’s already successful PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) program for seniors in order to eliminate the waiting list to enroll in the specialized Medicare and Medicaid program will be heard Thursday by the House Health Committee.

 “PACE is already working for New Mexico seniors,” Armstrong said. “By providing comprehensive, easy-to-access care for some of our most vulnerable seniors, New Mexico is already helping the elderly receive the services they need to allow them to live – safely – in their own homes. Unfortunately, the current limit on enrollees has roughly 250 seniors on a waiting list to get into the program. My bill expands funding for PACE to eliminate the waiting list and allow more seniors to be part of this effective program.” 

PACE is a unique program that provides care to vulnerable patients, most of whom qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. Using an interdisciplinary approach, PACE providers work in teams to deliver the specialized medical care and social services that an individual patient needs to help them continuing living on their own.  

HB 162 provides for a recurring $1 million expenditure from the general fund to pay for an expansion of the existing – and effective – PACE program in New Mexico.  

“For some seniors, assisted living centers or nursing homes are a great option that can meet their needs and provide them with the community and lifestyle they want,” Armstrong said. “However, many other seniors prefer to stay in their homes, in their communities, and near their friends and family. PACE helps make that possible and improves quality of life for these seniors. We need to expand PACE to make sure that every senior who wants to can participate.”

Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino has introduced a companion bill, SB 134, in the Senate. That bill has been referred to the Senate Public Affairs Committee.

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About Rep. Armstrong: Debbie is a long-time health care advocate. Having started her career as a physical therapist, she has worked extensively as a health care administrator, working 10 years with Presbyterian Medical Services in Santa Fe. Prior to serving as Secretary of New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Terms Services Department, she oversaw the department’s Consumer and Elder Rights Division. Debbie is the mother of three adult children. She lives in Albuquerque’s North Valley.  Follow her on Twitter @NMRepArmstrong and on Facebook, and sign up for email and text updates.

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Paid for by Debbie Armstrong for New Mexico, Kelly Smyer, Treasurer

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