PACE Transportation Services for Seniors
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2030, one in six people in the world will be aged 60 years old and over.
In the coming years, PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) is a government program that will be more important than ever.
What is PACE?
It is a type of home- and community-based service for more people-centered help. It aims to provide comprehensive medical care for seniors. There are 151 PACE programs in the country, currently operating in 32 states.
Older adults who need PACE assistance must go to the PACE center in their respective states.
Those who are in nursing homes may not need the PACE program as they get medical care in these facilities. However, more seniors than ever prefer to stay at home instead of in assisted living facilities.
According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 77% of adults aged at least 50 years old prefer to age in place for the long term. The percentage has remained almost the same for over a decade.
Why do seniors prefer to stay at home?
- The feeling of independence rather than depending on nursing home staff
- The comfort of being in your own space
- Enjoyment being with neighbors you’ve known for decades
- The convenience of knowing the ins and outs of the community
Be that as it may, seniors living at home must still regularly see their doctors for preventive or active care.
For that, they will need comfortable and convenient transportation or PACE transportation for seniors.
Introduction to PACE Transportation Services
Many seniors and older adults need mobility assistance. Some require a cane or walker to aid them in walking. Some others use wheelchairs. It would be challenging for them to take traditional transportation to and from their doctor’s appointments.
A PACE transportation service is a critical support system for seniors to get the medical care they need. PACE is a Medicaid and Medicare benefit. It covers services under both government insurance programs, which include transportation.
But since public transportation is out of the question, non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) is the next best thing.
NEMT is a specialized transport service that provides much-needed convenience for people in non-emergency situations.
Seniors with special transport needs, such as walkers, wheelchairs, and even stretchers, can be accommodated in NEMT vehicles. They are designed to provide comfort and safety for all passengers.
What’s more, NEMT drivers are well-trained in healthcare support. They know how to assist seniors with specialized physical accommodations.
Importance of Transportation for Senior Care
PACE transportation for seniors helps ensure they get the medical care they need.
The lack of adequate transportation has caused millions of seniors to miss their medical appointments. PACE services and NEMT providers will help make sure they always get healthcare support.
The following are the benefits of NEMT and PACE transportation services:
Keep Regular Medical Appointments
Older adults need medical attention more often as the years pass, whether they have a chronic disease or not. With safe and comfortable transportation assured, their chances of missing medical appointments are significantly reduced.
Most NEMT services can use medical software that features appointment reminders or simply create trips for future visits. It is no secret that seniors tend to become more forgetful. It is a natural part of aging.
With NEMT software, the transportation provider will send a reminder when the appointment is imminent. Another reminder comes on the day of the appointment and another when their assigned vehicle is nearby.
Ease the Burden on Family Members or Friends
Another reason seniors tend to miss medical appointments because no one can drive them. They become dependent on other people’s schedules. NEMT service is like hitting two birds with one stone: seniors maintain their sense of independence, and no one has to change their routine.
The patient can choose the ideal schedule for their medical appointments and be assured that they will be driven there.
NEMT is exceptionally safe for various reasons. We mentioned earlier that NEMT drivers have safety training. It is standard among NEMT service providers.
The vehicle itself is equipped with modern equipment and furnishings. Further, NEMT companies use modern medical software for their operations.
Robust NEMT software provides the following benefits:
- Route planning – The software can identify the best route from the pickup point to the PACE center. It could limit left turns, which experts have noted to result in many accidents.
- Real-time monitoring – The NEMT dispatcher can deliver instructions in real time if certain areas have become risky or congested due to changing traffic situations. If the NEMT vehicle gets into an accident, the software can immediately locate it.
- Maintenance reminders – The software will note when the NEMT vehicle needs maintenance so it remains in good condition.
Note that not all software products are created equal. ISI Technology offers the above-mentioned benefits and more.
Many think that NEMT services are expensive. This is understandable—they provide modern vehicles with specialized interiors to accommodate patients. They are very comfortable and safe.
With optimized traffic routes, the service can be quite affordable. Route optimization means less gas-guzzling and lower operational costs.
Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries can use PACE transportation for free. Medicare-only beneficiaries will need to pay a monthly premium for PACE services, which covers all types of assistance and not just transportation.
How to Apply for PACE Transportation?
PACE transportation for seniors is not the same in every state. Check with your local government and PACE center for transportation coverage.
The most important thing is that you are enrolled in the program itself. The comprehensive government-initiated program has a team of healthcare professionals who handle the medical and preventive care of all beneficiaries.
It is basically a complete medical facility, but local and more affordable.
The following services are available at PACE centers:
- Adult day health center
- Checkups with medical specialists
- Outpatient services (lab tests, outpatient surgery, radiology, and X-ray)
- Inpatient services (emergency room visits and hospitalizations)
- 24/7 primary care physician
- Home health and home care
- Prescription and medications
- Family/caregiver support services
- Durable medical equipment services
Types of Transportation Services Offered by PACE
In most cases, PACE transport is provided through buses. A bus offers great comfort as it is large and has a lot of legroom. There is space for wheelchairs, too.
Many PACE centers offer NEMT services. Connect with your PACE center coordinator and inquire about accredited NEMT services in your area.
Where Can I Get Transportation for Seniors Without PACE?
Look for the best-reviewed NEMT service provider. Once you have found the top options, compare their specific services, software, and pricing.
You may also contact your county office. Local governments usually have transportation services for seniors.
Some organizations for the elderly also offer transportation support. Get in touch with community leaders to find such organizations in your area.
Reliable transportation for senior citizens is crucial. The availability of appropriate patient transport can sometimes be the difference between good health and continued illness. As long as adequate vehicles are available, the elderly can get to their medical appointments.
Make sure to have an NEMT service provider on speed dial for PACE transportation needs. Find a company with efficient NEMT software for scheduling and dispatching.