February 24, 2021

Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian
Chair, Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care
Legislative Office Building
1020 N Street, Room 153
Sacramento, CA 95814

Assembly Member Randy Voepel
Vice Chair, Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care
Legislative Office Building
1020 N Street, Room 153
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: Assembly Bill (AB) 540: Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)

Dear Assembly Members Nazarian and Voepel:

On behalf of WelbeHealth, I am writing to express our support for Assembly Bill (AB) 540 which would require PACE plans to be presented as an enrollment option in the same manner as other managed care plan options. AB 540 would also require the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to establish an auto-referral system to refer beneficiaries who appear to be eligible to PACE.

WelbeHealth is a physician-led healthcare services company, founded on the mission of serving the most vulnerable seniors with quality, compassion, and value through the PACE model of care. WelbeHealth has a proven track record of leading market-changing innovation, launching partnership-based companies, and operating PACE programs in underserved communities. We currently operate four (4) programs in the Stockton/Modesto, Pasadena/Burbank, Long Beach, and Fresno communities of California.

Background on PACE

PACE is a person-centered integrated care model for adults age 55 and over who are eligible to receive nursing home care but would like to remain living in their home. With a PACE center as the hub, PACE provides and/or coordinates all medical, social, behavioral, and long-term care services for participants including medications, transportation, and home care. This type of comprehensive, community-based care is what many consumers and caregivers are seeking in health care delivery.

PACE also supports state and federal policymakers’ goals to serve seniors needing long-term services and supports. Developed in San Francisco 45 years ago and expanded to 31 States, PACE has a proven track record of success. Research shows that PACE achieves outstanding outcomes for frail seniors, including low rates of hospitalization, delays in or avoidance of nursing home admissions, consistently high participant satisfaction, and cost savings for the state and federal governments.

PACE is the “Best Kept Secret” in Healthcare

Unfortunately, while PACE is an option for 72% of the PACE eligible population in California, they do not know PACE exists! On the other hand, Medi-Cal managed care plans are known by everyone. This bill will help eligible frail seniors learn of their PACE option.

The COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) has created even more urgency to increasing visibility and access to PACE. Frail elders who experience avoidable hospitalizations, ER visits, or nursing home stays could benefit from the care coordination of the PACE interdisciplinary team (IDT) to keep them safe from exposure to COVID-19 which, for this population, has proved to be deadly.

PACE has proven dramatically safer for seniors during the pandemic, with 85-95 percent lower infection and mortality rates than nursing homes, based on our analysis of WelbeHealth participants as well as data from the National PACE Association, the California PACE
Association, and the California Department of Public Health.

Currently the 19 PACE programs operating in CA serve 11,000 frail seniors but the operating and developing PACE programs have the capacity to easily serve thousands more. The barrier is broad awareness of the “tried and true” integrated PACE program.

With expanded awareness offered by AB 540, many more frail seniors will have access to this highly effective model of care.


Elizabeth Carty
Chief Regulatory Affairs Officer