Even though Governor Walker did not include funds in his proposed 2013-15 state budget to expand Family Care into seven counties in northeast Wisconsin that are ready, willing and eager to take on the long-term care program, the fight for this expansion is far from over.
We are mobilizing teams of Family Care advocates across northeastern Wisconsin right now in an effort to help the governor, local state legislators and members of the state’s Joint Finance Committee fully understand its value and cost effectiveness.
Family Care is Wisconsin’s popular long-term care program for the frail elderly and people with disabilities. It’s currently available in 57 counties. We want the next state budget to include funding to expand the program into seven northeastern counties – Brown, Kewaunee, Door, Oconto, Marinette, Shawano, Menominee – as well as Rock County in southern Wisconsin and eventually the entire state.
“Every county that has come into Family Care so far has been included in the state budget. These eight counties should not be treated any different,” says Helen Marks Dicks, AARP Wisconsin’s state issues advocacy director. “They are ready to roll with Family Care and just need the green light from state lawmakers.
“The governor was a strong supporter of Family Care when he was county executive in Milwaukee – one of five pilot counties for the program. He recently mentioned how popular and valuable it is in the counties where it currently exists. Now it’s time to put his money where his mouth is and get this expansion in the budget.”
Family Care allows seniors to remain living and receiving long-term care services in their homes and communities, which is where they’d rather be anyway. The program closely tailors long-term care services to the needs of the individual, which not only saves tens of thousands of dollars per person by keeping seniors out of costly institutions, but leads to better health care outcomes.
“Family Care is all about giving seniors choices about the services and supports available to meet their needs. Everyone deserves access to quality, accessible, cost-effective long-term care,” Dicks said.
The Joint Finance Committee has scheduled the following hearings on Governor Walker’s 2013-15 state budget. All hearings start at 10 am.
- Thursday, April 4, Greendale – Greendale High School
- Monday, April 8, Green Bay – Lambeau Field
- Wednesday, April 10, Lake Delton – Kalahari Resort
- Thursday, April 18, St. Croix County – Baldwin-Woodville High School
We'll be there, advocating for Family Care expansion and invite you to throw on a red shirt and join us! Even if you can't make it to a hearing, you can still make your voice heard. Please contact your local state legislators and ask them to include funds in the state budget to expand Family Care.