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Via Christi HOPE to expand senior care model to 24 Kansas counties

Via Christi HOPE, which provides community-based services and care to the elderly as an alternative to traditional Medicare and Medicaid services, will expand its service area from one to 24 Kansas counties.

Via Christi HOPE, which has been providing services in Sedgwick County since 2002, was the first program of all-inclusive care for the elderly, or PACE organization in Kansas. The 23 additional counties Via Christi was awarded cover the southeast portion of the state and extend as far north as Johnson County.

“PACE is a model of care that we feel fits in well with the future of healthcare and offers a proven track record in serving the elder population and serving them well, not just in Kansas, but throughout the United States,” said Erik Hatten, senior operations officer for Via Christi Villages. “We realize there is a segment of the population that desires to remain in their own home as they age. Through PACE we are able to serve that population.”

The expansion efforts initially will focus on Johnson County, with a goal of providing services in Johnson and parts of Miami and Franklin Counties in 2015.

Via Christi HOPE also has been awarded additional counties surrounding Sedgwick County along with 12 counties in the southeast corner of the state, including Parsons, Pittsburg and Independence. A time frame for expansion to these areas has not yet been developed.

Via Christi HOPE has served more than 670 participants over the past 11 years and currently has 213 program participants in Sedgwick County. Nationwide, 31 states have PACE programs, with more than 25,000 participants.

PACE was established as a way to provide consumers, their families, caregivers and healthcare providers the flexibility to meet healthcare needs while helping consumers continue to reside in their communities. PACE provides all medical and social services for adults 55 and above who have been certified by the state to need nursing home care but are able to live safely in the community at the time of their enrollment. 

Although they must be certified as needing nursing home care, only about 7 percent of PACE participants nationally reside in a nursing home. If a PACE enrollee does need nursing home care, the PACE program pays for it and continues to coordinate the enrollee's care.

“The PACE model of care truly serves a vulnerable population and does so wonderfully,” said Sam Allred, executive director of Via Christi HOPE. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to bring this service to new markets and start helping more and more Kansans in need.”

PACE programs feature a comprehensive delivery system with integrated Medicare and Medicaid financing. Like KanCare, it is a capitated system in which contracting organizations assume full financial risk for beneficiary care without limits on amount, duration, or scope of services.

PACE programs assemble a team of professional and paraprofessional staff to assess each participant’s needs, develop a plan of care and coordinate the delivery of all needed preventive, primary, acute and long-term care services.

More information about Via Christi HOPE is available at viachristi.org/hope or by calling 316-858-1111.

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