Senior services program leaving stateBy Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | January 12,2013A program that helps seniors in Rutland and Chittenden counties maintain their independence will close this spring.
Five years after opening offices in Colchester and Rutland, PACE Vermont announced Friday it will close its offices and leave the state by March 31.
The program, whose name stands for the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, has provided medical and supportive care for seniors with chronic needs in other states for decades.
But the nonprofit program, which receives state and federal funds, didn’t begin providing services in Vermont until 2007 when offices opened in Rutland City and Colchester, according to Wayne Olson, senior vice president of Volunteers of America, the Minnesota-based company that oversees PACE Vermont.
During its operations in Vermont, PACE has served roughly 350 seniors with nursing care requirements, including a current caseload of 75 clients in Rutland and 60 in Colchester.
While the numbers served may seem significant, Olson said the company needed many more clients to achieve financial stability in Vermont.
“Throughout our history we’ve had challenges with enrollment increases,” he said. “There hasn’t been a point in our history when we were in balance. We always had more expenses and liability than reimbursements.”
Olson added, “Eventually, the expenses were too high. The decision was reached a week ago that we would have to close.”
That decision started a series of conversations with the organization’s clients and other senior care providers in Chittenden and Rutland counties to arrange for transitions to other programs.
In Chittenden County, PACE clients in need of case management are being referred to the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging while in Rutland those same clients are being instructed to call the Southwestern Council on Aging.
Rutland Area Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice is also preparing to help seniors who will be phased out of PACE during the next 2½ months.
“RAVNAH is already stepping in to help with patients,” said RAVNAH spokeswoman Laura Vien. “Anytime an organization or service that extends services to a vulnerable population closes, it’s a loss.”
Olson said the closing will also leave 85 nurses, dietitians, drivers and other support staff employed by PACE without jobs — although he said he hoped many of the company’s employees wouldn’t be out of work for long.
“We’re anticipating that some of our staff will be hired by the other agencies who will absorb our clients,” he said.
Olson said he had no doubt that other senior support services would be able to add those receiving help from PACE. In fact, he said that competition with those other services, which had been caring for Vermont’s senior population long before PACE arrived, was a major factor in his organization’s struggles.
“We believe there’s enough services here to provide a safety net, certainly,” Olson said. “The closing was a very difficult decision to reach but it wasn’t a sudden decision. We came to it cumulatively over time.”
@rutlandherald.comMORE IN Local & StatePITTSFORD — Dozens of puppies and grown dogs were brought to the Rutland County Humane Society... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.