Bipartisan bills introduced in the Senate and House call for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to publish the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly final rule by Dec. 31.

“NPA expects the PACE final rule to make it easier for PACE to provide care and services outside of the PACE center,” the National PACE Association said in a statement to McKnight’s Senior Living. “It will open new opportunities for PACE enrollees to access care at home, in senior housing, assisted living or in community centers.”

Almost two years after CMS’ release of a proposed PACE rule in 2016 during the Obama administration, CMS has yet to issue the final rule. The current regulations date to 2006.

PACE programs serve those whose health conditions qualify them for nursing home care but allow them to remain in the community for as long as possible. “A long-held goal of the PACE community is expanding the model so it is available to everyone who could benefit from it,” NPA President and CEO Shawn Bloom said.

The NPA anticipates that the final rule will increase flexibility. Specifically, the final rule is expected to allow PACE to customize the composition of the interdisciplinary team around the needs of each individual enrollee, provide more services in community settings outside of the PACE center and allow PACE greater flexibility to partner with community providers.

In the Senate, Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) introduced S. 3338 on Aug. 1, with Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) as co-sponsors. In the House, Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) introduced H.R. 6561 on July 26, with Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Judy Chu (D-CA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Ron Kind (D-WI) and Christopher Smith (R-NJ) as co-sponsors.

“We appreciate leaders in Congress supporting our efforts to expand the number of individuals who can benefit from the unique PACE model of care,” Bloom said. “NPA and PACE organizations have been working for years to obtain greater flexibility in the PACE regulations to help PACE grow faster and reach more people.”