PACE of the Southern Piedmont celebrates 5 Year Anniversary

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PACE of the Southern Piedmont is celebrating five years of providing great, compassionate care for the seniors in our communities in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Stanley and Union Counties, and You’re Invited! Join them to celebrate on Tuesday, July 17 between 4: pm and 6:00pm; RSVP by calling 704-617-7502    or email

With an amazing facility and offices located at 6133 The Plaza in Charlotte, PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) is an innovative healthcare system that enables individuals 55 years and older with chronic care needs, requiring nursing home level of care, to live as independently as possible in their home. It is a Medicare not for profit, Medicaid State option program that coordinates and provides all needed healthcare, including primary, preventive, acute and long-term care services so that older individuals can continue living in the community.

I sat down for an interview with Renee Rizzuti, CEO and Executive Director, and April Barnes, Director of Outreach and Enrollment to better understand how this program and healthcare model is different from apparently similar health-organizations. April guided me on a tour of the facility, and together with Renee explained how the program works.  Ms. Rizzuti said “Our number one goal is to empower our aging population with the choice to live safely in the home they love. Thus, our vision is to ensure access to care for all elders in our communities who qualify for our program. PACE has no waiting list. PACE model of care is a home and community based benefit plan, paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, Private Funds, or any combination of the three. If a participant is Medicaid eligible, the out of pocket cost will reflect the participants’ current ability to pay for the program.”

With the senior population in our area on the rise, many are not finding or qualifying for assistance while some are heartbroken by having to move to a nursing facility. Their families (caregivers) have to drive to appointments, manage all of their medications, and deal with networks of uncommunicative doctors, while providing a safe home environment for their loved ones and juggling their own careers and families.  PACE of the Southern Piedmont is providing relief, a breath of fresh air, peace of mind and love not just to the patients but to their families also.

The uniqueness of PACE program is also reflected on the benefits. When enrolled, the seniors receive a membership card (replacing the previous health insurance) that entitle them to Primary Medical, Nursing and Urgent care, and Laboratory services and Diagnostics, all done at the PACE Day Health and Wellness Center. The well-equipped medical offices exude compassion and care. Also available are Recreational therapy, Physical, Occupational and Speech therapy, Pharmaceuticals and medical equipment and Personal care. No need to worry about falling in the shower at home. The large and well well-furnished bath and grooming room along with the assistance provided by the staff will satisfy all needs. Enrolled seniors can also have coordinated and authorized access to Medical Specialist, Podiatry, Optometry Audiology and Dental care without copays. While most care is delivered during daylight hours, care is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The Team Approach to Care is definitely what gives PACE of the Southern Piedmont another uniqueness status. As Rene explained “Through the efforts of a team of healthcare professionals (Interdisciplinary Team or IDT) comprised of physicians, nurses, home care coordinators, therapists, dietitians, social workers, pharmacists, and transportation coordinators who work together, in combination with a wide network of providers familiar with PACE, the organization delivers the overall mind, body, and spirit health needs of every participant. Here, we have fewer patients per doctor than any medical office, giving seniors more time to talk and engage in their care.”

The organization provides each individual with transportation (to and from the facility and all healthcare related appointments) in beautiful and wheelchair-accessible vans; a Home Care Coordinator will assess home needs and provide safety. A Master of Social Work helps with resources for other social activities (e.g. church, groups, and events).

PACE Day Health and Wellness Center provides Delicious Meals, Snacks and nutritional counselling, and is the place for Community enrichment and Education, social activities including arts and craft, games and more; it reliefs isolation and inspire conversation. It is the place where seniors can meet new friends, enjoy Music and Memory, plainly have fun.

To learn more about the amenities and benefits of their program call 704-887-3840 and make an appointment to visit, or inquire at

Happy 5th Anniversary PACE of the Southern Piedmont, and Happy More to Come! Thank you for serving our communities and the well-deserving seniors.

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