April 4, 2018

“Anything I Need” – Peggy and Other Seniors Rely on CarePartners PACE Transportation

When it comes to getting healthcare services, transportation is a necessity for today’s seniors. To remain independent, older adults need a safe, reliable way to get to their appointments – which is where CarePartners PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) proves invaluable. Not only does the comprehensive program help seniors manage their healthcare needs, it coordinates and provides the much-needed transportation.

Handling with Care

Heart transplant survivor Peggy Watson, 71, credits CarePartners PACE transportation services with allowing her to continue living independently. “It’s the No. 1 reason,” she said. Watson, who relies on oxygen and a wheelchair, utilizes PACE transportation for all of her doctor visits and specialist appointments. “There’s no way we could do this on our own.”

Ultimately, the all-inclusive program helps keep patients like Watson happy and as independent as possible while reducing her healthcare costs. “They come and get me, and then they bring me back home – anything I need,” Watson said.

Every few minutes throughout the day a van stops at the center, dropping off participants for the PACE program and shuttling them to their various appointments. “Right now, we have 7-8 vehicles on the road morning and evening,” said Ryan Strimple, CarePartners PACE Transportation Manager. He has been coordinating the program’s transportation since its beginning in March 2015. “I was the first person our first participant saw on the first day,” he said. Today, the program transports an average of 80 PACE participants each day.

“Door through Door” Service

While ensuring seniors get the services they need, the PACE program manages to add a bit of TLC to the transportation process. “The main difference between what my drivers and other services do is we provide ‘door through door’ service,” said Strimple. “We do more than haul cargo, we don’t just pull in the driveway and honk. We help patients into or out of the bed; we transfer them from chair to wheelchair and back – whatever’s necessary.”

PACE drivers assist participants in numerous ways, including ensuring patient dignity. With a population that includes many patients suffering from dementia, this last visual check is invaluable. “We make sure they have their clothes on properly and that they’re dressed appropriately for the weather,” said Strimple.

With transportation barriers responsible for the gaps in healthcare for many senior adults, PACE stands out in its ability to transport participants to and from their homes. Not only do they provide the transportation, but the coordination of it is seamlessly handled at the time the appointment is made. These valuable services help many participants – who would otherwise require a skilled nursing facility – retain their independence.

CarePartners PACE – At a Glance

Senior adults age 55 and older are eligible for the program if they live in Buncombe or Henderson county, meet the NC Nursing Home Level of Care criteria and are able to live safely in the community at the time of enrollment.

All CarePartners PACE services are paid for by Medicare, Medicaid and/or private pay – with all costs covered for seniors who are fully eligible for Medicaid. PACE services include:

  • Primary care (including doctor and nursing services)
  • Adult day dare
  • Hospital care
  • Recreational therapy (activities)
  • Medical specialty services
  • Meals
  • Prescription drugs
  • Dentistry
  • Nursing home services
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Emergency services
  • Social services
  • Home care
  • Laboratory/X-ray services
  • Physical therapy
  • Social work counseling
  • Occupational therapy
  • Medical transportation

Ryan Strimple is CarePartners PACE Transportation Manager.

To enroll or get more information about CarePartners PACE, call (828) 213-8442 or visit carepartners.org.