MENLO PARK, CA (March 27, 2020)—WelbeHealth, operator of three PACE programs across California, has made major adjustments to its clinical and operational model to protect the health and well-being of its participants in the face of the rapidly escalating COVID-19 pandemic, including a shift to remote and home care for its vulnerable population of seniors.
PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) is a longstanding Medicare and Medicaid program that provides comprehensive medical and social services enabling older adults to live in the community instead of a nursing home or other care facility. Since 2019, WelbeHealth has become one of the fastest-growing PACE operators in the U.S., opening Stockton PACE in greater Stockton-Modesto, Pacific PACE in the PasadenaGlendale-Burbank region, and LA Coast PACE in the greater Long Beach area.
Welbe has been prepared to operate during a pandemic since long before the emergence of COVID-19. The company’s leadership and clinical teams have worked extensively in recent weeks to implement their emergency preparedness program, including launching their Pandemic Incident Response Systems. These systems include a well-defined chain of command and pandemic-specific roles and responsibilities, ensuring clear communication and enabling continued high quality of care for PACE participants.
In the traditional PACE model, most participants visit a day center two or three times per week. With the emergence of coronavirus, Welbe’s PACE programs have made major changes to protect the health of vulnerable seniors. Since March 16, participants have been receiving nearly all their care remotely, at home. In addition to medical care, the programs also continue to provide essential services to seniors based on individual needs, including food preparation and delivery, medication delivery, and personal hygiene assistance.
“I’m extremely proud of our team’s creativity and devotion in ensuring that our seniors continue to receive exceptional care 24/7,” said the President of WelbeHealth, Matt Patterson, MD.
To support home-based care for participants, Welbe has deployed over 200 4G LTE “WelbeLink” tablets with hardware and software specifically designed for use by seniors. Welbe’s care teams use the tablets to maintain regular video communications with participants in the home, making hundreds of calls per day to manage seniors’ medical needs and concerns and complete social and behavioral health check-ins. The tablets also provide games and entertainment for seniors to enjoy throughout the day.
With around-the-clock support from leadership and the tremendous efforts of clinical team members, Welbe has been able to make the shift to remote care very rapidly. At Stockton PACE, the team assembled and delivered protective equipment and supply kits to all employees, set up and delivered hundreds of WelbeLink tablets and thermometers to all participants, and identified needs and delivered food and supplies to seniors’ homes — all in a matter of days. At Pacific PACE, one new participant reflected, “Pacific PACE isn’t just a change in doctor or health; it’s a change of life for me. I’m extremely grateful for everyone making this possible.”
In addition to shifting to remote care, the company has taken numerous other steps to protect participants and caregivers during the pandemic. Since March 16, all team members have been mandated to shelter in place and work from home unless otherwise assigned by the emergency response team. WelbeHealth is also working closely with local, state, and federal health officials to ensure appropriate resources are available to care for participants, including being prepared to test participants and caregivers for COVID-19 when appropriate.
“My colleagues and I chose to work in healthcare out of a sense of calling — a desire to serve and contribute when it matters most,” wrote the CEO of WelbeHealth, Si France, MD in a letter to participants and families. “I assure you that our team will continue to make every effort to do the right thing and protect our seniors during this critical time.”
At WelbeHealth, our mission is to unlock the full potential of our most vulnerable seniors with empathy and love. We do it through PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), a comprehensive medical and social care model with a decades-long track record of improved quality of life, life expectancy, and personal empowerment for frail seniors. As part of our PACE programs, most participants are able to live safely and independently in their own homes and communities rather than receive care in a nursing home. WelbeHealth operates three PACE programs across California, with plans for additional expansion in underserved communities. For more information, please visit welbehealth.com.
To learn more about our PACE services, click here.