Brooklyn News Review

Healthcare providers gather at CenterLight PACE in Queens to discuss upcoming Bensonhurst fair

CenterLight Healthcare PACE, the state’s largest provider of all-inclusive health care for the elderly, brought together more than a dozen other health care providers at its Flushing location on Thursday, Nov. 2, to promote its upcoming health and wellness fair for seniors. 

The fair will be held on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Salvation Army Senior Center in Bensonhurst. A range of health care providers will participate to offer senior attendees health education, blood pressure screenings and lucky draws. 

At the collaborative event on Nov. 2, the providers who attended heard from CenterLight’s leadership about their goals for the fair and for senior healthcare more broadly, especially for the immigrant participants who require culturally competent care. The guest providers also had the chance to share their own healthcare goals for their patients, and to connect with other providers in the process.

As part of the state’s push to phase out costly long-term care facilities, Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which allow their members to “age safely at home” by providing one-stop health care centers, are growing in popularity. Specifically, they offer those over the age of 55, who often qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, access to comprehensive services under one roof. The fair builds on their initiative to bring healthcare to the community with an emphasis on education.

Tara Buonocore-Rut, President and CEO of CenterLight, discussed the power of a “one stop shop” for senior healthcare. Photo by Iryna Shkurhan

“When you’re elderly, when you’re frail and have so many other things going on, it’s really important to be able to access care when you need it at the right time and the right place,” said Tara Buonocore-Rut, president and CEO of CenterLight. “And that’s what PACE offers.”

A member can receive physical therapy, have an appointment with his or her primary care physician, attend physical therapy and be directed to mental health services in one place on the same day. CenterLight also offers transportation to its centers, meals, English language classes, computer lessons and a range of recreational activities to keep their members socially engaged and avoid isolation. 

Amy Mung gave visiting healthcare providers a chance to introduce themselves to other attendees. Photo by Iryna Shkurhan

Amy Mung, the vice president of Specialized Programs at Centerlight, pointed out that many older Chinese-Americans “don’t believe in western medicine” and are missing out on preventative healthcare such as flu shots and screenings. And many other immigrants may be uninsured without knowing that they can qualify for coverage. 

“They need help, but they don’t know how to ask for help,” added Mung. 

Over a dozen healthcare providers joined the CenterLight team at their Flushing location to discuss an upcoming health fair. Photo by Iryna Shkurhan

CenterLight organized two similar fairs last year that brought out more than 300 attendees over the age of 55. The organization currently cares for 63,000 participants across its eleven PACE centers across the New York Metropolitan area, making it the largest PACE provider in the state.

“These events are just ways that we can give back to the community and make sure that whether our participants, or someone else’s participants, know they have the information that they need to make healthy lifestyle choices,” said Buonocore-Rut. “I do think that this year’s Health Fair is going to be larger than it’s ever been.”