The PACE model was developed in the early 1970s in California as a response to the aging immigrant population consisting of Italians, Chinese, and Filipinos. The families of these elders needed long-term care services to better care for their loved ones.
A committee of community leaders formed a nonprofit corporation under the name On Lok Senior Health Services with the purpose of creating a community-based care system. On Lok, Cantonese for ‘peaceful, happy abode’, opened one of the nation’s first adult day centers in 1973 in San Fransisco. As the care system grew, new services were offered including in-home care and delivered meals.
By 1979, the Department of Health and HumanServices awarded On Lok a four-year grant to develop a model of delivering care for elderly individuals in need of long-term care. Throughout the 1980s, On Lok continued to grow, test new financing systems using fixed monthly payments and open new organizations replicating the On Lok service delivery system.
In 1990, the first Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) was granted Medicare and Medicaid waivers to begin operations. By 1994, the National PACE Association (NPA) formed, with support from On Lok. There was 11 PACE organization in operation in nine states.
The PACE model was permanently recognized as a provider type by Medicare and Medicaid in 1997. By 1999, there were 30 active PACE programs in 19 states. To date, there are 118 PACE programs in 32 states serving roughly 38,000 participants.
For more information about PACE and the National PACE Association, please visit npaonline.org.