PROVIDENCE — Some elders with chronic health needs striving to remain in their homes with the help of PACE Organization of Rhode Island’s primary care, rehabilitation and social services will be able to keep their doctor thanks to a new contract with physicians in the CharterCARE Health Partners network the organizations announced Wednesday.
PACE and CharterCARE Health Partners have partnered to create the PACE Community Based Primary Care Physician program, which currently includes four doctors in the CharterCARE network.
The physicians, Dr. John Stoukides, Dr. Rebecca Brown, Dr. Keya Malhotra, and Dr. Kristine Mortel, will work with the team at PACE to provide wrap-around care for eligible older adults.
“This is an innovative next step in the PACE model,” stated PACE CEO Joan Kwiatkowski. “This program is designed to put our participants’ health, well-being, and medical wishes at the core of all we do. When an enrollee has a strong relationship with their primary care provider, we want to respect and build on that relationship – and now thanks to this new program, and these pioneering doctors at CharterCARE Health Partners – we can spread the message and the benefits of PACE to many more older adults who need the help PACE can provide.”
About 300 adults aged 55 and older currently use PACE’s services providing wrap-around care for eligible older adults. Services provided by PACE include primary care, access to specialists, prescription drugs and durable medical equipment, 24-hour emergency services, homecare, transportation to adult day centers and other medical appointments, meals, and physical, speech, occupational and respiratory therapies.
The usual care model requires the elders to leave their regular doctor in favor of PACE specialists, said Cyndi Forcier, Chief of Strategy and Development at PACE. Patients are referred to PACE by both individual doctors and care centers, she said, “When they realize the traditional health care system isn’t working for the individual.”
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services CBPCP program, which funds PACE services, now allows community-based physicians to contract with PACE, she said, allowing physicians working with elders referred to PACE can continue to care for their patients.
Forcier said PACE has permission to sign such contracts with 16 physicians, but will test out its relationships with the existing four before adding new physicians to the program. She said they expect to fill the remaining 12 available physician opportunities allowed by the CMS within the next two years. Eventually, she said, they may ask the CMS for permission to expand further.
Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Borkowski@PBN.com.