History of PACE Programs in NC

The State of North Carolina has supported PACE for a decade and a half. In 2004, the North Carolina General Assembly directed the NC Department of Health and Human Services to develop a pilot program to implement PACE. Elderhaus resulted from this pilot program. In 2008, the State amended its State Medicaid Plan to include PACE as a permanent option.

North Carolina’s first PACE program, Elderhaus, opened in 2008 in Wilmington. It was followed soon thereafter by Piedmont Health SeniorCare in Burlington, which was part of a national initiative to expand PACE to rural areas. Two more programs opened in 2011, in 2012, in 2013 and in 2014. One program, Piedmont Health SeniorCare, opened a second center in Pittsboro as well. In 2015, the last PACE program opened in Asheville.

Currently, there are eleven North Carolina PACE programs with twelve centers in operation serving 2,200 people. There are PACE programs in Asheboro, Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Gastonia, Greensboro, Lexington, Newton, Pittsboro and Wilmington.

Organizations have submitted applications to the state to serve additional new areas, and to expand current service areas. These requests have been pending since 2013. The Association urges the state to approve these requests. Interest has been expressed in the remaining areas of the state. The Association's goal is to have PACE available to all citizens of the state, regardless of where they live.

History of the Association

In 2010, fourteen NC healthcare organizations operating or preparing to operate PACE programs began meeting. They discussed their shared interests and issues in starting and operating PACE centers. The National PACE Association provided extensive support to this fledgling group. In 2011, the NC Foundation for Advanced Health Programs agreed to sponsor the new NC PACE Association and secured a two year grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to support the organization and development of the new entity.

In 2012, the Association hired its first executive director and was legally incorporated as a nonprofit entity in North Carolina. In 2013, NCFAHP received a second two year grant from Kate B. Reynolds to support the continued development of the Association and its efforts to expand PACE to unserved rural communities.

January 1, 2014, the Association moved from under the aegis of NCFAHP (now Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation) into a stand alone organization. A third two year grant was awarded by Kate B. Reynolds in 2015, with additional grants awarded in 2017.
The Trust continues to support the statewide PACE Association, as well as individual sites around the state, because of the organization’s ability to deliver excellent health outcomes for low-income, elderly North Carolinians. In fact, PACE is one of the few programs that deliver results that meet or exceed those for more financially advantaged elderly residents. Investing in PACE is in line with Mrs. Reynolds’ vision to improve the quality of life and health for all North Carolinians, regardless of where they live or how much money they make. -- Allen Smart, director of the Health Care Division at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust (former)