Jennie Chin Hansen
Jennie Chin Hansen, RN, MSN, FAAN
Newport News, Va – Jennie Chin Hansen, CEO of the American Geriatrics Society and past president of AARP, participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, August 28, celebrating Riverside Health Systems' newest comprehensive elder health care center to the Hampton Roads community.

During the ceremony held at the Riverside PACE Center in Denbigh of Newport News, Hansen talked about Riverside's commitment to quality health care for seniors.

Riverside operates four other PACE centers — one in Hampton, two in Richmond, and one in Petersburg — with plans for another in Charlottesville later. An acronym for Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, PACE is based on the successful long-term care model for seniors in San Francisco known as On Lok that Hansen helped create. She later worked with the federal government to develop a national program.

As more and more of the nation's Baby Boomers reach their Golden Years the demand for quality elder care increases, Hansen says. Americans who live longer are prone to more diseases, chronic conditions, and disabilities, thus requiring more comprehensive care.

Hansen cited a 2010 AARP survey of 1,616 adults 45 and older that showed three-fourths wished to remain in their home and community as they age. "While nearly three-quarters of respondents strongly agreed with the statement, "what I'd really like to do is stay in my current residence as long as possible," roughly two-thirds strongly agreed with the second statement, "what I'd really like to do is remain in my local community for as long as possible," the AARP said.

Additionally, aspects of one's community continue to be the primary motivation for aging in place as one ages reflected in the two-thirds of respondents who agreed that they want to stay in their home because they like what their community has to offer. 

In a recent interview with the Massachusetts-based Picker Institute that sponsors research and education in the fields of patient-centered care, Hansen noted that one in five Americans will be eligible for Medicare in 2030, compared to one in nearly seven in 2010. Also, those 65 years of age and older will account for almost 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2030, compared to 13 percent now, 12.4 percent in 2000, and 4.1 percent in 1900. Eighty percent of older adults require care for such chronic conditions as hypertension, arthritis and heart disease, Hansen said.

Riverside PACE empowers participants to live in their homes and communities for as long as they are medically and socially able by providing a personalized care plan 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The personal care team includes at a minimum:  a primary care physician; registered nurse; a social worker; dietitian; physical therapist; occupational therapist; speech therapist; activity coordinator; PACE Site director; homecare coordinator; certified nurse assistant; and driver.

Riverside PACE provides a daytime environment where participants can enjoy supervised activities, meals, and receive necessary medical services. To be eligible for the program, a participant must be 55 years or older; qualify for care in a nursing home; be able live safely in the community; and live within the Riverside PACE service area.

Riverside PACE is a not-for-profit program funded through a unique arrangement with Medicaid and Medicare. Seniors who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid can still join Riverside PACE for a set monthly fee.

The Newport News center is scheduled to open this fall. Nationwide, PACE has about 82 programs in 28 states.

Others participating in the Aug. 28 program were: U.S. Representative Rob Whitman, First District; U.S. Representative Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, Third District; Senator John Miller, First District; Delegate David E. Yancey, Newport News; Delegate Michael B. Watson, 93rd District; Delegate Keith M. Hodges, 98th District; Newport News Mayor McKinley Price, DDS; Councilwoman Sharon Scott, Newport Newport; Gordon L. Gentry Jr., Chairman, Riverside Lifelong Health Division Board; Bill Downey, Chief Executive Officer of Riverside Health System; and Alan Witt, chairman of the Riverside Health System Board.


Published: August 28, 2012