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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Is On Lok Lifeways a nursing home?

    No. On Lok Lifeways is an alternative to nursing home care. Our goal is to help our participants keep their independence and remain in their own homes as long as possible. If at some point a participant can no longer safely stay at home, then the On Lok Lifeways interdisciplinary team will consider placement in a nursing home as a care plan option.

    This sounds expensive. Does Medicare cover this plan?

    Medicare covers a portion of the monthly fees. Medicare does not cover custodial long-term care. Medicare covers acute health care, such as doctor visits and hospitalizations. Long-term care services that include in-home supportive services, adult day health care, maintenance rehabilitation, meals, transportation, etc. are typically paid out-of-pocket through a long-term care insurance policy, or by Medicaid for people who qualify as low income. Today nursing home care in San Francisco can cost as much as $4000 to $6000 a month. On Lok Lifeways’ monthly, long-term care fees are fixed at approximately $5000 per month, which makes it an affordable alternative for many elderly.

    Will On Lok Lifeways take my Social Security and SSI checks?

    No. Participants stay in control of their finances.

    What does the On Lok Lifeways plan cost?

    For seniors who are Medicare and Medi-Cal beneficiaries, and recipients of Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) benefits, there is no premium or co-payment for the On Lok Lifeways Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). For other Medicare beneficiaries, there may be a flat monthly fee for our program with the amount based on factors, such as personal income and assets. Our comprehensive package of benefits will be completely covered by this fee with no additional co-payments of any kind.
    For individuals who do not have Medicare coverage, please call us to determine what, if any, monthly fee is required to join.

    What services does On Lok Lifeways provide?

    All benefits authorized under Medicare and Medi-Cal. On Lok Lifeways provides all appropriate services that a member needs, including nutritious meals, transportation to and from the center, and recreational therapy. Visit the Services section of this website or request a copy of the Member Enrollment Agreement Terms and Conditions booklet.

    For more information about our services, please click here or contact us at:
    Telephone: 1-415-319-6661
    For the Hearing Impaired: TTY 1-415-292-8898
    E-mail: info@onlok.org

    How long does the enrollment process take?

    The PACE enrollment process can take at least three weeks, and sometimes longer, depending on the availability of the On Lok Lifeways team and the need for the medical records. For more information about the enrollment process, please click here.

    Can I keep my own doctor?

    No. When a person enrolls in On Lok Lifeways, they are assigned a primary care physician who is part of an interdisciplinary team skilled in treating the medical needs of aging people. This primary care physician works with other members of the team to coordinate all services that a participant receives. The primary care team is located within the On Lok Lifeways PACE center, so participants have access to their primary care doctor and team.

    Can I just use a specific service such as home care, meals, transportation, or the day health center?

    No. Focusing on a single aspect of care does not provide the older person with the best chance of remaining independent in the community. For example, a participant may need rehabilitation after a stroke, which may include a special diet or medications for hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic problems. The participant may also feel lonely and isolated. On Lok Lifeways can address these problems through a team of experienced professionals and a care plan that deals with the complete picture.

    I do not care for group activities. Would I have to come to the On Lok Lifeways PACE center every day?

    Probably not. Participants generally attend the PACE center two to three times a week. However, some come five days a week while others attend less frequently. It is a matter of individual needs.

    On Lok Lifeways is mainly for Chinese people, right?

    No. We serve a very diverse group of seniors. Because the health plan started in Chinatown and North Beach, a majority of the participants have been Chinese. Today, our 7 centers throughout the Bay Area serve many different ethnic groups, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, Central and South American, Mexican, African-American, Italian, and Russian. Most staff members are bilingual in Chinese or Spanish, and some speak a wide variety of languages.

    If I belong to a Medicare health plan, can I also enroll in your health plan for long-term care services?

    No. You can only enroll in one Medicare health plan. On Lok Lifeways is both a Medicare provider and a long-term care provider. By enrolling in On Lok Lifeways, you will be automatically disenrolled from your current Medicare health plan. You must receive all needed health care services (other than emergency services), including primary care and specialist physician services, from On Lok Lifeways or from an entity authorized by On Lok Lifeways. On Lok Lifeways participants may be fully and personally liable for the costs of unauthorized or out-of-network services.

    I am caring for an elderly family member. Can On Lok Lifeways help me?

    On Lok is dedicated to supporting the unique needs of the elderly. We partner with families to provide the best possible care to our participants. If you are looking for assistance with medical and supportive services for your elderly family member or friend, click here to learn more about On Lok Lifeways PACE services. Or, contact us directly at this number:

    Telephone: 1-415-319-6661
    For the Hearing Impaired: TTY 1-415-292-8898
    E-mail: info@onlok.org

    Can participants enroll in On Lok Lifeways and utilize the County In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) at the same time?

    No. The On Lok Lifeways PACE program offers full home-based medical and personal services, in addition to the many other benefits. On Lok Lifeways is much more comprehensive than the services provided through IHSS. Participants must discontinue use of IHSS services prior to beginning the PACE program.

    My mother is currently a member of On Lok Lifeways and we would like to discuss something about her care. What should I do?

    Your primary contact for these types of issues is your On Lok Lifeways social worker. If you do not know who this is, simply go to the On Lok Lifeways Centers section of this website and click on the center where your mother is enrolled. You can call the center to find out who is assigned to your mother’s case. You can also e-mail us at memberservices@onlok.org.

    We live in the Castro District, but my father wants to enroll into the On Lok Lifeways PACE center located at 1333 Bush Street to be with his friend. Is this possible?

    Absolutely! If your father is eligible for enrollment, he can enroll into any of the On Lok Lifeways PACE centers as long as there are no transportation issues caused by this arrangement. The actual time elders spend in transportation is strictly regulated to ensure that they are not excessively uncomfortable or fatigued. Therefore, some requests for enrollment into distant centers cannot be accommodated. However, we also suggest that your father visit the center closest to your home. He may find some of his other friends are there, or he may make some new friends that he might really enjoy! An enrollment specialist can arrange a visit for you and/or your father, so you can see the centers in person.

    My grandmother is unable to cook for herself and needs On Lok Lifeways services since I work all day. She cannot speak English. What can On Lok Lifeways do for us?

    Attending to the needs of those whose primary language is not English has been a fundamental goal of On Lok and On Lok Lifeways since its inception. We boast a staff that delivers care in multiple languages, such as Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Italian, Toishanese, Fukanese, and many more. Not all languages are supported in each center, but we will work with you to find the center that is right for your grandmother.

    How much does it cost to enroll in On Lok Lifeways?

    On Lok Lifeways is reimbursed for its services on a monthly capitated or “lump-sum” basis. We are also a Medicare and Medi-Cal service provider and accept reimbursement from both of these programs for our services. The fixed monthly amount that you will need to pay for our services depends on whether you have Medicare, Medi-Cal, or other long-term care insurance that recognizes PACE providers. Often people who have both Medicare and Medi-Cal pay no monthly fee. Additionally, there is no separate co-payment for any of our covered services, including prescription drugs, insulin syringes, and more.

    I have spoken with our Social Worker, but I still am not satisfied with the way my situation is being handled. What can I do?

    We truly welcome the opportunity to reach a solution for your problem and to improve how we deliver our services. If you are not satisfied with anything to do with On Lok Lifeways and cannot resolve it with your Social Worker, please speak with the Program Manager of your center. If you are still not satisfied, please contact:

    Health Plan Associate
    On Lok Lifeways
    1333 Bush Street
    San Francisco, CA 94109

    Telephone: 415-292-8895
    Toll-Free: 1-888-996-6565
    For the Hearing Impaired: TTY 1-415-292-8898
    E-mail: memberservices@onlok.org

    You may also review information about your participant rights and how to file a grievance by clicking here.

    My parents want to join On Lok Lifeways, but they do not want to change their primary care physician. Can they still enroll into your program?

    On Lok Lifeways is a health plan, and like most other health plans, the physicians that you can see as a participant of the plan must be on our panel of providers. To find out which physicians are on our panel, please click here and use the search form to obtain the information. If your parents’ physician is not listed, you might want to consider the following before you decide not to enroll:

    • On Lok Lifeways primary care physicians and nurse practitioners have specific training and experience dealing with the unique problems that face the frail elderly, such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and hypertension.
    • Many of On Lok Lifeways’ medical staff are bilingual and can provide care for aging monolingual participants in their native language or dialects with particular attention to cultural sensitivities.
    • On Lok Lifeways differs from other health plans because it is an all-inclusive program of care. So, your parents will also benefit from structured physical and occupational therapy, activity therapy, and home care, should they need it. And, your parents will obtain their prescription drugs at the centers, saving you trips to the pharmacy. Please click here to see the list of services that On Lok Lifeways provides to participants.

    How do I enroll into the On Lok Lifeways PACE program?

    In order to be eligible for the On Lok Lifeways PACE program, you must meet the following criteria:

    • Be 55 years of age or older;
    • Live in San Francisco, Fremont, Newark, Union City, or Santa Clara County (not including Gilroy, Morgan Hill, or San Martin);
    • Be certified by the State of California to need a nursing home level of care; and
    • Be able to live safely in the community at the time of enrollment.

    We would like to help by making a donation to On Lok. Where can we send our check?

    You can make a general contribution, a memorial donation in remembrance of a loved one or colleague, or designate a person or event you would like to honor by donating to On Lok. Your donation is tax deductible. Please send your donations to the address below and be sure to include a return address so we may acknowledge receipt of your contribution and communicate our thanks for your support.

    On Lok Development Department
    1333 Bush Street
    San Francisco, CA 94109

    I am looking for details about the current event that On Lok is sponsoring. Can you help me?

    For On Lok events, please visit the “Events” section of our website by clicking here.

    What type of fundraising events does On Lok host throughout the year?

    On the corporate level, On Lok hosts an Annual Spring Celebration in May, an Invitational Golf Tournament in June, and its Annual Generations Fashion Show that supports On Lok’s Intergenerational program in September.

    Please email fundraising@onlok.org to find out how you can support or participate in these events.

    Can I donate my car or other property to On Lok?

    Occasionally, On Lok receives donated cars and trucks which we use directly for our work. However, most vehicle donations to On Lok are handled through the Charity Connections Program of the Volunteers of America. If you are interested in donating your vehicle you can contact them at 510-567-1112. It’s extremely convenient: they handle all of the paper work, and will pick up your vehicle. All you need to do is let them know that you want the proceeds of the sale of your vehicle to go to On Lok. You will also be able to deduct the fair market price of your donation from your taxes.

    If you have any further questions, please contact our Development department by phone at 415-292-8732 or email at fundraising@onlok.org.

    I am very impressed with the work that On Lok does. How can I help?

    There are many ways to help On Lok or any of its related not-for-profit organizations. Please click here to find out how.

    Is there an organization that I can join so I can support On Lok on a continuing basis?

    On Lok is very fortunate to have the assistance of its principal support organization, Friends of On Lok. To find out more about this organization, and how you can join, please email us at fundraising@onlok.org.

    If our organization is soliciting applications for a grant or endowment, who should we contact to see if On Lok is interested in submitting a proposal for the award?

    On Lok is always grateful for being considered for grant opportunities. Please contact us by sending an email message to fundraising@onlok.org.

    My friend and I would find it very rewarding to volunteer at On Lok. She is a retired nurse but I have no health care experience. How can we help?

    Your past experience does not limit your ability to volunteer at On Lok. We can use volunteers of all ages, with all skill sets, and for long or short durations. Contact the volunteer coordinator by emailing volunteer@onlok.org to find out how you can help. You’ll find it a very gratifying experience.

     

GENERAL

Is On Lok Lifeways a nursing home?

No. On Lok Lifeways is an alternative to nursing home care. Our goal is to help our participants keep their independence and remain in their own homes as long as possible. If at some point a participant can no longer safely stay at home, then the On Lok Lifeways interdisciplinary team will consider placement in a nursing home as a care plan option.

This sounds expensive. Does Medicare cover this plan?

Medicare covers a portion of the monthly fees. Medicare does not cover custodial long-term care. Medicare covers acute health care, such as doctor visits and hospitalizations. Long-term care services that include in-home supportive services, adult day health care, maintenance rehabilitation, meals, transportation, etc. are typically paid out-of-pocket through a long-term care insurance policy, or by Medicaid for people who qualify as low income. Today nursing home care in San Francisco can cost as much as $4000 to $6000 a month. On Lok Lifeways’ monthly, long-term care fees are fixed at approximately $5000 per month, which makes it an affordable alternative for many elderly.

Will On Lok Lifeways take my Social Security and SSI checks?

No. Participants stay in control of their finances.

What does the On Lok Lifeways plan cost?

For seniors who are Medicare and Medi-Cal beneficiaries, and recipients of Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) benefits, there is no premium or co-payment for the On Lok Lifeways Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). For other Medicare beneficiaries, there may be a flat monthly fee for our program with the amount based on factors, such as personal income and assets. Our comprehensive package of benefits will be completely covered by this fee with no additional co-payments of any kind.
For individuals who do not have Medicare coverage, please call us to determine what, if any, monthly fee is required to join.

What services does On Lok Lifeways provide?

All benefits authorized under Medicare and Medi-Cal. On Lok Lifeways provides all appropriate services that a member needs, including nutritious meals, transportation to and from the center, and recreational therapy. Visit the Services section of this website or request a copy of the Member Enrollment Agreement Terms and Conditions booklet.

For more information about our services, please click here or contact us at:
Telephone: 1-415-319-6661
For the Hearing Impaired: TTY 1-415-292-8898
E-mail: info@onlok.org

How long does the enrollment process take?

The PACE enrollment process can take at least three weeks, and sometimes longer, depending on the availability of the On Lok Lifeways team and the need for the medical records. For more information about the enrollment process, please click here.

Can I keep my own doctor?

No. When a person enrolls in On Lok Lifeways, they are assigned a primary care physician who is part of an interdisciplinary team skilled in treating the medical needs of aging people. This primary care physician works with other members of the team to coordinate all services that a participant receives. The primary care team is located within the On Lok Lifeways PACE center, so participants have access to their primary care doctor and team.

Can I just use a specific service such as home care, meals, transportation, or the day health center?

No. Focusing on a single aspect of care does not provide the older person with the best chance of remaining independent in the community. For example, a participant may need rehabilitation after a stroke, which may include a special diet or medications for hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic problems. The participant may also feel lonely and isolated. On Lok Lifeways can address these problems through a team of experienced professionals and a care plan that deals with the complete picture.

I do not care for group activities. Would I have to come to the On Lok Lifeways PACE center every day?

Probably not. Participants generally attend the PACE center two to three times a week. However, some come five days a week while others attend less frequently. It is a matter of individual needs.

On Lok Lifeways is mainly for Chinese people, right?

No. We serve a very diverse group of seniors. Because the health plan started in Chinatown and North Beach, a majority of the participants have been Chinese. Today, our 7 centers throughout the Bay Area serve many different ethnic groups, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, Central and South American, Mexican, African-American, Italian, and Russian. Most staff members are bilingual in Chinese or Spanish, and some speak a wide variety of languages.

If I belong to a Medicare health plan, can I also enroll in your health plan for long-term care services?

No. You can only enroll in one Medicare health plan. On Lok Lifeways is both a Medicare provider and a long-term care provider. By enrolling in On Lok Lifeways, you will be automatically disenrolled from your current Medicare health plan. You must receive all needed health care services (other than emergency services), including primary care and specialist physician services, from On Lok Lifeways or from an entity authorized by On Lok Lifeways. On Lok Lifeways participants may be fully and personally liable for the costs of unauthorized or out-of-network services.

PROVIDERS

How can I find out the status of a claim?

How do I file a provider dispute?

How can I become a participating provider for On Lok?

Please e-mail us at providerservices@onlok.org if you are interested in becoming a participating provider for On Lok Senior Health Services.

CAREGIVERS

I am caring for an elderly family member. Can On Lok Lifeways help me?

On Lok is dedicated to supporting the unique needs of the elderly. We partner with families to provide the best possible care to our participants. If you are looking for assistance with medical and supportive services for your elderly family member or friend, click here to learn more about On Lok Lifeways PACE services. Or, contact us directly at this number:

Telephone: 1-415-319-6661
For the Hearing Impaired: TTY 1-415-292-8898
E-mail: info@onlok.org

Can participants enroll in On Lok Lifeways and utilize the County In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) at the same time?

No. The On Lok Lifeways PACE program offers full home-based medical and personal services, in addition to the many other benefits. On Lok Lifeways is much more comprehensive than the services provided through IHSS. Participants must discontinue use of IHSS services prior to beginning the PACE program.

My mother is currently a member of On Lok Lifeways and we would like to discuss something about her care. What should I do?

Your primary contact for these types of issues is your On Lok Lifeways social worker. If you do not know who this is, simply go to the On Lok Lifeways Centers section of this website and click on the center where your mother is enrolled. You can call the center to find out who is assigned to your mother’s case. You can also e-mail us at memberservices@onlok.org.

We live in the Castro District, but my father wants to enroll into the On Lok Lifeways PACE center located at 1333 Bush Street to be with his friend. Is this possible?

Absolutely! If your father is eligible for enrollment, he can enroll into any of the On Lok Lifeways PACE centers as long as there are no transportation issues caused by this arrangement. The actual time elders spend in transportation is strictly regulated to ensure that they are not excessively uncomfortable or fatigued. Therefore, some requests for enrollment into distant centers cannot be accommodated. However, we also suggest that your father visit the center closest to your home. He may find some of his other friends are there, or he may make some new friends that he might really enjoy! An enrollment specialist can arrange a visit for you and/or your father, so you can see the centers in person.

My grandmother is unable to cook for herself and needs On Lok Lifeways services since I work all day. She cannot speak English. What can On Lok Lifeways do for us?

Attending to the needs of those whose primary language is not English has been a fundamental goal of On Lok and On Lok Lifeways since its inception. We boast a staff that delivers care in multiple languages, such as Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Italian, Toishanese, Fukanese, and many more. Not all languages are supported in each center, but we will work with you to find the center that is right for your grandmother.

How much does it cost to enroll in On Lok Lifeways?

On Lok Lifeways is reimbursed for its services on a monthly capitated or “lump-sum” basis. We are also a Medicare and Medi-Cal service provider and accept reimbursement from both of these programs for our services. The fixed monthly amount that you will need to pay for our services depends on whether you have Medicare, Medi-Cal, or other long-term care insurance that recognizes PACE providers. Often people who have both Medicare and Medi-Cal pay no monthly fee. Additionally, there is no separate co-payment for any of our covered services, including prescription drugs, insulin syringes, and more.

I have spoken with our Social Worker, but I still am not satisfied with the way my situation is being handled. What can I do?

We truly welcome the opportunity to reach a solution for your problem and to improve how we deliver our services. If you are not satisfied with anything to do with On Lok Lifeways and cannot resolve it with your Social Worker, please speak with the Program Manager of your center. If you are still not satisfied, please contact:

Health Plan Associate
On Lok Lifeways
1333 Bush Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

Telephone: 415-292-8895
Toll-Free: 1-888-996-6565
For the Hearing Impaired: TTY 1-415-292-8898
E-mail: memberservices@onlok.org

You may also review information about your participant rights and how to file a grievance by clicking here.

My parents want to join On Lok Lifeways, but they do not want to change their primary care physician. Can they still enroll into your program?

On Lok Lifeways is a health plan, and like most other health plans, the physicians that you can see as a participant of the plan must be on our panel of providers. To find out which physicians are on our panel, please click here and use the search form to obtain the information. If your parents’ physician is not listed, you might want to consider the following before you decide not to enroll:

  • On Lok Lifeways primary care physicians and nurse practitioners have specific training and experience dealing with the unique problems that face the frail elderly, such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and hypertension.
  • Many of On Lok Lifeways’ medical staff are bilingual and can provide care for aging monolingual participants in their native language or dialects with particular attention to cultural sensitivities.
  • On Lok Lifeways differs from other health plans because it is an all-inclusive program of care. So, your parents will also benefit from structured physical and occupational therapy, activity therapy, and home care, should they need it. And, your parents will obtain their prescription drugs at the centers, saving you trips to the pharmacy. Please click here to see the list of services that On Lok Lifeways provides to participants.

How do I enroll into the On Lok Lifeways PACE program?

In order to be eligible for the On Lok Lifeways PACE program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be 55 years of age or older;
  • Live in San Francisco, Fremont, Newark, Union City, or Santa Clara County (not including Gilroy, Morgan Hill, or San Martin);
  • Be certified by the State of California to need a nursing home level of care; and
  • Be able to live safely in the community at the time of enrollment.

BENEFACTORS

We would like to help by making a donation to On Lok. Where can we send our check?

You can make a general contribution, a memorial donation in remembrance of a loved one or colleague, or designate a person or event you would like to honor by donating to On Lok. Your donation is tax deductible. Please send your donations to the address below and be sure to include a return address so we may acknowledge receipt of your contribution and communicate our thanks for your support.

On Lok Development Department
1333 Bush Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

I am looking for details about the current event that On Lok is sponsoring. Can you help me?

For On Lok events, please visit the “Events” section of our website by clicking here.

What type of fundraising events does On Lok host throughout the year?

On the corporate level, On Lok hosts an Annual Spring Celebration in May, an Invitational Golf Tournament in June, and its Annual Generations Fashion Show that supports On Lok’s Intergenerational program in September.

Please email fundraising@onlok.org to find out how you can support or participate in these events.

Can I donate my car or other property to On Lok?

Occasionally, On Lok receives donated cars and trucks which we use directly for our work. However, most vehicle donations to On Lok are handled through the Charity Connections Program of the Volunteers of America. If you are interested in donating your vehicle you can contact them at 510-567-1112. It’s extremely convenient: they handle all of the paper work, and will pick up your vehicle. All you need to do is let them know that you want the proceeds of the sale of your vehicle to go to On Lok. You will also be able to deduct the fair market price of your donation from your taxes.

If you have any further questions, please contact our Development department by phone at 415-292-8732 or email at fundraising@onlok.org.

I am very impressed with the work that On Lok does. How can I help?

There are many ways to help On Lok or any of its related not-for-profit organizations. Please click here to find out how.

Is there an organization that I can join so I can support On Lok on a continuing basis?

On Lok is very fortunate to have the assistance of its principal support organization, Friends of On Lok. To find out more about this organization, and how you can join, please email us at fundraising@onlok.org.

If our organization is soliciting applications for a grant or endowment, who should we contact to see if On Lok is interested in submitting a proposal for the award?

On Lok is always grateful for being considered for grant opportunities. Please contact us by sending an email message to fundraising@onlok.org.

My friend and I would find it very rewarding to volunteer at On Lok. She is a retired nurse but I have no health care experience. How can we help?

Your past experience does not limit your ability to volunteer at On Lok. We can use volunteers of all ages, with all skill sets, and for long or short durations. Contact the volunteer coordinator by emailing volunteer@onlok.org to find out how you can help. You’ll find it a very gratifying experience.