; LifeCircles COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions – LifeCircles PACE

LifeCircles PACE serves individuals at the highest risk of severe and life-threatening reactions to the COVID-19 virus. Our goals are to:

  1. Prevent the spread of COVID-19;
  2. Ensure appropriate access to our exceedingly taxed acute healthcare resources;
  3. Protect all patients, health care workers, and human services workers from exposure; and
  4. Respond quickly and effectively to health and safety threats to our participants.

Upon learning of this crisis, LifeCircles implemented our emergency preparedness protocols and has been monitoring COVID-19 data and updates daily.

As a reminder: PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) was established in the federal statute in 1997 as a permanent provider type under Medicare and state plan option under Medicaid. As a fully integrated provider and payer, PACE must furnish comprehensive medical, health and social services that integrate acute and long-term care. These services may be furnished in the PACE center, the participant’s home, and inpatient facilities.

To comply with Governor Whitmer’s 3/23/2020 executive order to “Stay Home”, LifeCircles operations and services are being modified. For more information please read the FAQs below.

On behalf of all LifeCircles team members, thank you for working with us to protect the most vulnerable of our community members. We will successfully overcome this TOGETHER.

With gratitude and respect,

Luke Reynolds, Executive Director

COVID-19 Pandemic – Frequently Asked Questions – April 1, 2020

Is LifeCircles still open?

The Muskegon and Holland Day Centers are closed to regular attendance. Public or private gatherings of any number are prohibited under the State of Michigan’s Executive Order to “Stay Home”. Most of our team members are working from home and are being deployed to the community as needed. There are a few employees at each center during normal business hours to answer phones, process mail, and provide administrative support. Use of the PACE clinics will occur based on individual need and in accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations.

If the PACE Centers aren’t open, how is care being provided?

The LifeCircles Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) conducts a virtual meeting every day. All participant care continues to be assessed, monitored and coordinated remotely using technology and telephones. Each LifeCircles participant care plan is being revised based on their needs and living situation. Since attendance at our day center is on hold, we have developed methods for regular and frequent contacts with each participant.

How are prescriptions and supplies managed?

LifeCircles delivers and / or coordinates the delivery of supplies and medications to participant homes.

How are dental, vision, and other specialist appointments being handled?

The State of Michigan’s “Stay Home” order advises all elective surgeries and outpatient appointments to be postponed or canceled until the COVID-19 crisis has stabilized. Only services and interventions needed to sustain life should be provided. Therefore, our IDT is communicating with each individual participant and their families about the status of future appointments.

Is LifeCircles providing transportation?

LifeCircles will continue to provide transportation to essential appointments and services. Each participant’s needs are unique, so any transportation services will be coordinated at the individual level. When transporting, there will not be more than one participant on any vehicle.

Are home care visits still happening?

Each individual care plan will be reviewed and revised in real time. Essential home care activities (e.g. wound care, personal care for individuals at risk of skin breakdown, assistance with eating, etc.) will continue to be provided. However, the duration and frequency of home care services may be altered based on individual need and availability of staff. Non-essential home care services are being temporarily stopped to reduce risk of potential exposure. Our Home Care Coordinators and IDT members are assessing needs each day. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns, or to report a safety risk.

Is LifeCircles still accepting referrals and enrolling new participants?

Yes, it is our duty to continue to offer eligible individuals the PACE option for long term care. Medicare and Medicaid have provided guidance that allows us to enroll individuals in a new way during this crisis.

We are still accepting referrals. In these strange times we are taking unusual measures to assess potentially eligible and interested individuals without doing home visits. For questions about the intake process during COVID-19, please contact our Muskegon Office at 231-733-8655 or our Holland office at 616-582-3100.

How are LifeCircles participants and families being kept informed?

LifeCircles is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have frequent contacts with each participant. In addition, we send out formal communications regarding COVID-19 every week. LifeCircles uses telephone, text, email and in-person methods to communicate with our participants and families. Communication is essential, so please let us know if there are things we’ve missed or could improve upon.

What about Infection Control?

LifeCircles leadership is reviewing CDC, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and local health system guidelines and protocols every day. We are adhearing to all recommendations and best practices – including social distancing, frequent and thorough hand washing, and stopping face touching. We are screening staff members and participants and/or their household memobers for COVID-19 signs and symptoms. We are also tracking COVID-19 infections and suspected cases in our service area and surrounding communities. We are monitoring the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and working closely with our region and sponsoring organizations to ensure the availability of PPE to our team members and participants.

Are LifeCircles’ contracted agencies able to be paid during the COVID-19 crisis?

Yes, our health plan management staff are working remotely and continue to process claims and invoices per our normal business processes. Please let us know if you are experiencing difficulties with obtaining authorizations, payments or have communication challenges.

What are contracted agencies expected to report to LifeCircles during the COVID-19 emergency?

Please continue to follow normal incident reporting procedures. Quickly and proactively responding to health issues before they become acute is critical to prevent trips to the emergency room or hospital, where exposure risks are increased. It is also very important that you promptly notify us if any of your staff members who interact with our participants become infected with COVID-19

Last Updated on August 24, 2020