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About Us

A Brief History of PACE

The PACE model evolved in the early 1970's, in San Francisco. Seniors and their families in the Chinatown-North Beach area — home to Chinese, Italian, and Filipino immigrants — faced pressing needs. A public health dentist, Dr. William Gee, and a community social worker, Ms. Marie Louise Ansak, brought together a group of local leaders. With an innovative approach to senior health care, they opened On Lok Senior Health Services. On Lok is Cantonese for "peaceful, happy abode."

In 1979, On Lok received a four-year federal grant to develop a model of care for persons with long-term needs.  Later, they named the new care model PACE — Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly.

In the mid 1980's, Congress authorized a replication of the On Lok service delivery and financing model. Working with two national foundations, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the John A. Hartford Foundation, On Lok launched PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly). By 1994 there were 10 programs, all receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds to serve the frail elderly through PACE.

On Lok and the original sites formed the National PACE Association (NPA). Through the effort of the National PACE Association, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 made the PACE model a permanent provider type under the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In 2006, the final PACE regulations were published. Congress also awarded grants to 14 non-profit organizations to expand PACE in rural areas.

By 2012, 85 PACE organizations were serving seniors in more than 30 states, and PACE continues to expand to new communities throughout the nation.