Empath Health has opened a new PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) center in Tampa, Florida. The center will operate under the organization’s Empath LIFE (Living Independence for the Elderly) brand.
This is the second PACE center that the nonprofit senior care health system has opened and the first such program in its home county, Hillsborough. Empath’s first center, Suncoast PACE, launched in 2012.
The development of these programs is part of Empath’s larger strategy of expanding its services further across the continuum, according to CEO Jonathan Fleece.
“Our organization here at Empath Health, we’re dedicated to serving every spectrum across our communities and are 100% committed to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Fleece told Hospice News. “Both internally within our organization, but also externally so we can bring the commitment to serving our community in a diverse, equitable and inclusive manner.”
The center offers seniors access to primary care, therapies, skilled care, social and emotional support and day care at the Empath LIFE Day Center and Medical Clinic; in-home care and support and transportation to and from Empath LIFE or other approved specialists.
The program will serve chronically ill seniors aged 55 and older who are certified by the state of Florida to need a nursing home level of care and are able to live safely in the home and community.
“Me being the recluse, I need that socialization. Also, PACE provides the mental and physical activities that we need,” Debbi James, a Suncoast PACE participant, told Hospice News. “We exercise; we do all kinds of fun things.”
Empath’s business lines include hospice, home health care, primary care, palliative care, PACE, AIDS and sexual wellness care, and adult day services to a combined total of more than 23,000 individuals. The organization is the parent company of 17 affiliates and two philanthropic foundations.
The organization offers hospice care through several brands, including Tidewell Hospice, Suncoast Hospice, Empath Hospice, Hospice of Marion County and Suncoast Hospice of Hillsborough.
Empath Health is in the process of pursuing an affiliation with Florida-based Trustbridge, expanding its footprint in the state.
A third center is planned for Florida’s Manatee County later this year.
Programs like Empath LIFE and Suncoast PACE can help improve care coordination and quality of life for seniors, according to Tom Reiter, senior vice president of Empath’s Complete Care Division and National PACE Management Services Organization (MSO).
“One of the benefits for individuals contemplating enrolling in the PACE program is that they are getting one interdisciplinary team who is both the provider for all of their support services. So not only do we provide doctors or social workers, their home care, their transportation to and from PACE Center, to and from any medical appointment they may have, they are getting it from one team,” Reiter told Hospice News. “That eliminates fragmented care.”