2007-10-05 / Seniors

New ElderCare location opens in Leominster

BY LINDSAY SAUVAGEAU LSAUVAGEAU@LEOMINSTERCHAMP.COM

Summit ElderCare is a spa, library, doctor's office and pharmacy all in one.

Now that Fallon Community Health Plan has announced the opening of its third Summit ElderCare facility at 55 Cinema Boulevard in Leominster, the senior community throughout the area will have a chance to become part of this innovative and comprehensive program.

"This is about getting the right person to the right place for medical care," said David Wilner, medical director for Summit ElderCare.

During a press conference last week at the new location, Wilner explained his role in the ElderCare program.

"As the patient's physician, I get to sit with a team of specialists and discuss the medical care of the individual. The team comes up with a plan to keep the patient as independent as possible, not just the Medicare and Medicaid providers," he said. "The patient load is different here as well, encouraging a lot of attention to individual care."

ElderCare is a PACE program, a program of all-inclusive care for the elderly. Sponsored by Fallon Community Health Plan, PACE is the only one of its kind in Central Massachusetts and one of only six in Massachusetts. It is an insurance, medical care and social support system in one package, according to Eric Schultz, president and CEO of Fallon Community Health Plan. It is a plan, he says, that includes prescription drugs, medical care, support services in the home, medical transportation, and adult day health services.

"When I worked for a physician group practice project, I realized how much health insurance impacted a person's health care. Now I'm part of an organization with the only health plan in the country that is a PACE program," said Shultz.

The newly-constructed 12,390-square-foot ElderCare facility in Leominster will accommodate over 200 participants and more than 50 employees when at full capacity, including physicians, nurses, health aides, social workers, activities directors and administrative staff.

"Many participants, when learning about Summit ElderCare for the first time, say that it is 'too good to be true' because our plan is so comprehensive people get nervous," said Karen Longo, the executive director of Summit Elder- Care. "All it means is that this all-in-one package helps to maximize life for the individual and their caregiver."

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