Jun 3 2013

Press Release: BPDD Supports Expansion of Family Care to 7 NE Counties

Posted by BPDD at 2:30 PM
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- Categories: Advocacy | BPDD | Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 3, 2013

Contact: Joshua Ryf, Communications Director, joshua.ryf@wisconsin.gov, (608) 261-7829

BPDD Supports Expansion of Family Care & IRIS to 7 Northeast Counties

Madison, WI – The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD) supports expansion of Family Care/IRIS to seven northeastern counties which currently do not have these programs. The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) is scheduled to decide on this issue Tuesday.

Family Care/IRIS provide critical community-based services to people with disabilities and older adults who need long-term support. These programs have been proven to save thousands of dollars per member per year, as well as allow people with disabilities to live at home in their communities, instead of in costly institutions.

Some people in the 15 counties without Family Care/IRIS have been waiting more than 10 years for these vital supports.

The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s Budget Paper #327 cites multiple reasons to expand Family Care/IRIS to northeast Wisconsin, including:

  • Equity among counties – the State has approved all previous requests for expansion from other counties
  • Equal opportunity for consumers – residents of the northeast counties do not have the same opportunity to receive Family Care and IRIS as other people in Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin’s commitment to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – the Department of Health Services (DHS) made a formal commitment to the federal government to make Family Care available statewide
  • Cost savings – DHS capped Family Care expansion in 2011 in order to develop and implement cost savings strategies, which are now in place
  • Unfair burden on taxpayers – taxpayers in the northeast counties have been helping to cover the cost of these programs in other counties for over a decade but are not receiving the benefits themselves; that’s not fair

Dozens of aging and disability groups statewide support expansion of Family Care/IRIS to end wait lists so people with disabilities and older adults can stay in their homes and receive care in a timely way.

Currently all 72 counties pay into the Family Care/IRIS systems, but only 57 counties participate. The other 15 have wait lists for critical supports that can prevent costly emergency and institutional care, while allowing people to stay in their homes and participate in their communities.

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