Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

August 1, 2008

Seniors staying on PACE

Area residents driving west on Fourth Street may notice Cherokee Nation Elder Care and immediately dismiss it as a nursing home for Cherokee citizens.

Actually, it’s neither.

CNEC is Oklahoma’s first facility to participate in the federal Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), and the first to be sponsored by an Indian tribe. But sponsorship is where the tribal affiliation ends, according to CNEC Program Director Ben Stevens.

“I have a board of directors I report to, and I don’t answer to the chief or the tribal council,” said Stevens. “Cherokee Nation was very generous in providing the funding for the startup so we could qualify for the federal and state grant funding to become a PACE facility.”

PACE is a federal program designed to keep elders living in their homes, connected with their communities and out of nursing home facilities. The PACE center consolidates the services of an adult day health center, primary care office and rehabilitation facility into a single location.

“My catch-phrase to anyone who thinks we’re a nursing home or adult day center is ‘we’re similar, but different,’” said Stevens.

According to Stevens, the application process to become a PACE facility is quite rigorous, and requires that the agency have a facility, staff, supplies and equipment – essentially lacking only participants – before ever making the application.

Service include, but aren’t limited to, primary care, rehabilitation, prescription medication, meals and nutritional counseling, respite services, caregiver training, home health and transportation.

“We provide team-base care management,” said Stevens. “The interdisciplinary team consists of a full-time physician, clinical nurses, physical therapist, occupational therapist, adult day center nurses, activities director, dietitian and transportation director, and they all have equal say in planning for a participant’s care. No decision can be made without the agreement of the team, the participant, the participant’s caregiver and family. We treat participants holistically. All of these people come together, compare notes and customize a plan of care for the participant.”

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Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
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