AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — “Coordinate and provide all needed preventive, primary, acute and long-term care services so older individuals can continue living in the community,” is the motto of the National PACE Association (NPA).

139 organizations operate Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) programs in 31 states, including The Basics at Jan Werner in Amarillo.

“[PACE] is a program that’s designed to help frail elders live independently in the community instead of having to go into a nursing home or other type of care setting,” said Krissy Hurt, the executive director at Jan Werner. “All of our participants actually meet nursing home eligibility, but they are choosing, or their families are choosing, to keep them at home. They want to get all of their health care in the community instead of having to be in a nursing home.”

The program is funded by Medicare and Medicaid to provide care for participants. Hurt said they also offer private pay if they have a person who does not meet the eligibility criteria.

Some of the care provided by the program includes:

  • A Primary care physician
  • Prescription needs
  • Nursing care
  • Social services
  • Full rehab gym
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Dietitian

It is all something Rodney Goff is grateful for.

“They take care of all the needs,” said Goff. “Pretty much medically speaking everything.”

Goff said the program means everything to him.

“All of the exercise equipment that you need is available right here. They do physical therapy here if you really need physical therapy. I was in the hospital. I came here to therapy and they got me right back almost to normal within a couple of months,” said Goff.

Goff said he enjoys the socialization as well.

“We have a pool table, and that’s kind of my thing. There’s just a family of us. We shoot pool, and you know, support each other,” said Goff. “So you’ve got recreation, you’ve got socialization. It’s really wonderful.”

Then came the pandemic. Hurt said it affected their model of care, so they transitioned to help meet the needs of their participants.

“We were open on March 16 as a day center, and we transitioned into a home-based model of care the very next day,” said Hurt. “Fortunately for our PACE program and our pace participants, they didn’t have any gaps in services … because we had already had all of those pieces together. We just transitioned to those into the home.”

The NPA said there are many more people, like Goff, who could be served by PACE programs. Hurt said for Texas’ size, there are only two other PACE programs in the Lone Star State.

“They’re not really where you would think they are. There’s one here in Amarillo, there’s one in Lubbock, and then one in El Paso. So, you know, with them not being in the metroplex areas, there’s lots and lots of people that can really benefit from this program,” said Hurt. “Unfortunately, the State of Texas hasn’t approved and then really appropriated in the budget for extra programs. And so, you know, with the studies that show that it actually is better, not only for the participant, but it’s also financially better for the state, we would love for people to talk to their legislators and to the lawmakers about getting more programs.”

“I’d want to tell them that it really is the best insurance, the best available socialization, and the staff here is the most important thing,” said Goff. “It’s one of the few places I’ve ever seen in my life, where they actually; the love that they show is real, is not phony. And these people, you can tell they really honestly care, every one of them. Most places, they’ll have someone somewhere along the line that’s just not quite got it on the board. Every one of the people here I’ve ever seen, the staff, are all caring, genuine. I don’t know how they put a team together that’s 100%, But this one is. It’s me means everything to me.”

Judd: “Where would you go? What would you do without it?

Goff: “I probably wouldn’t do a heck of a lot more than I have been during the pandemic because you can’t afford to go out and socialize when you’re on a limited income, fixed income. It offers me all of those, all that escape and ability to do things, to socialize, to exercise. I couldn’t afford to do that without Jan Werner.”

Judd: “It lets you live.”

Goff: “Boy, you’re not kidding. Live, not survive. You’ve got that right.”

To see if you qualify to take part in the PACE program, reach out to The Basics at Jan Werner by calling (806) 374-5516.