State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) members via the SECU Foundation are providing a 10-year $2.5 million low-interest loan to assist with the construction of a Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) facility in Pittsboro, North Carolina. Under development by Piedmont Health Services, Inc. (PHS), a PACE certified non-profit organization, the facility will provide services exclusively for older adults who meet State eligibility criteria for nursing home level care. The new 4.5 acre rural site in Pittsboro will serve residents of Chatham, Lee and southern Orange counties. The center will be unique, as PHS and the Department of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine (UNC Family Medicine) will collaborate to establish the first teaching PACE program in North Carolina, educating medical and allied health professionals in the PACE model.
PACE is a self-sustained managed care program that focuses on caring for older individuals with chronic care needs and their families/caregivers in the community, rather than in long-term facilities. PACE serves individuals who are age 55 or older, are certified by their state to need nursing home care, are able to live safely in the community at the time of enrollment, and live in a PACE service area.
SECU Foundation is a strong supporter of projects focused on health and human services. The first SECU member-funded project in Chatham County, PACE also aligns with a relatively new initiative the Credit Union is developing to help support members in the 60+ demographic through resources for various life stage issues. North Carolina’s 60+ age group is projected to increase by over 400,000 per decade, reaching 2.14 million, or about 18% of the state total population by 2030. The anticipated financial and personal costs associated with healthcare are also expected to climb as the number of older adults facing serious chronic illnesses and disabilities increases.
The PACE program coordinates and provides a full range of primary, acute and long-term care services through the PACE center, in-home care, and referral services with the objective of enabling older adults to maintain their independence in their homes for as long as possible. Enrolled participants can receive services such as adult day care that offers nursing, physical, occupational and recreational therapies, meals, nutritional counseling, social services, medical care, and home health care. With a defined service area, each PACE program is approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the state administering agency, Medicaid. There are currently five operational PACE sites in North Carolina, and in three years, North Carolina is projected to be the second largest state in the number of PACE sites nationally.
Marianne Ratcliffe, Piedmont Health SeniorCare Executive Director states, “Piedmont Health looks forward to working with UNC Family Medicine and SECU Foundation as we utilize the PACE model to deliver a fully integrated and comprehensive set of services outside of the traditional institutional setting, while simultaneously serving as a training ground for future PACE providers.”
Jim Barber, SECU Foundation Board Chair comments, “Healthcare is one primary focus of the SECU Foundation and supporting this worthy project will provide North Carolina’s 60+ population, their families and caregivers an alternative option for independent living, increasing their overall quality of life. The new PHS PACE facility, with the first of its kind educational and training components, is a winning venture for everyone. This project truly represents the Credit Union’s cooperative spirit embodied by SECU members.”