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DOH Prepares PACE Program Payments

Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) participating in the Support of the Unique PACE Fully Integrated Care Model Initiative should receive payments toward the end of June. The initiative is funded by enhanced federal Medicaid payments authorized by Section 9817 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Additional Support for Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) during the COVID-19 Emergency. The funding will support workforce investments, help with reopening costs and infrastructure upgrades, and aid in growing the PACE program. The Department of Health (DOH) notified PACE organizations of their funding amounts last week and recirculated the spending and implementation guidelines.

The funding cannot be used to supplant current or already planned expenses, including any portion of any settlement obligations or other liabilities owed by the PACE organization, or any related person or entity. Any investment made using this funding must be a new investment. The guidance details examples of allowable uses of the funding in each of the three spending categories, suggesting that PACE organizations use the list to guide their decisions on how to use their award.

While funding cannot target managers or administrative/executive staff, or be used to support current wage levels for any employees, examples of allowable workforce recruitment and retention investments include:

  • Employee recognition and retention activities, such as performance bonuses and retention incentives;
  • Worker development and training initiatives, including compensation for certifications, mentorship programs, and promotion pathways;
  • Enhanced benefits such as insurance, wellness benefits, and family caregiver supports; and
  • Recruitment efforts, including advertising costs and use of technology to improve recruitment.

Suggested site reopening and infrastructure upgrade investments include:

  • Purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) and installing symptom screening devices;
  • Educating staff about COVID-19 vaccination/testing and funding testing/vaccination incentives for staff;
  • Renovating/improving PACE centers for infection prevention (e.g., replacing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems);
  • Improving infection prevention strategies in PACE transportation;
  • Renovating PACE centers to enhance social distancing; and
  • Making infrastructure enhancements that allow PACE centers to withstand and continue operating during natural disasters, public health emergencies, and other emergency situations.

Suggestions for program growth investments include:

  • Expanding capabilities for telehealth and telemedicine;
  • Increasing outreach and education about the PACE program; and
  • Expanding capacity to address social determinants of health and health disparities.

DOH reminds PACE organizations that funding must be spent by March 31, 2024, and that budgeting should be done accordingly. If an organization chooses to use its award to cover recurring costs, such as salary increases, the source of additional funding to cover these costs beyond March 2024 should be identified. Failure to use funds by the deadline, or using funds in non-allowable ways, will result in the recoupment of the award.

Award recipients should address questions to DOH at MLTCinfo@health.ny.gov. Information on the State’s HCBS Enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (eFMAP) program is available here.

LeadingAge NY Contact: Darius Kirstein, dkirstein@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8841