The new Legislative Audit Bureau audit report on Family Care shows the program is working as planned, and has an average cost per person well below the average cost of nursing home care.
Here are some reasons Family Care should continue on as planned and expanded into all 72 Wisconsin countiesâ€¦
1. The report states, â€œour audit findings indicate that Family Care has improved access to long-term care by allowing participants to avoid institutional care, and in many instances to remain in their own home.â€
2. More than 80% of participants expressed satisfaction with Family Care.
3. Federal matching funds are supporting a large majority of program costs.
4. The overall average cost per participant is $2,800 a month which if far less than over $5,000 a month for institutional care. This is despite the fact that there is a high percentage of higher cost individuals who are developmentally disabled.
5. The number of improper payments to providers is low, and there were no reports of fraudulent payments in the first six months of 2010.
At the moment, the State is still considering putting a cap on Family Care and freezing further expansion.
Clearly there is no good reason to tamper with this successful and cost effective program.
Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed two-year budget would effectively end the state’s SeniorCare prescription drug program in its current form, forcing tens of thousands of people to enroll in more-expensive private plans available through Medicare Part D.
The SeniorCare program, introduced in 2001, provides low-cost prescription drug coverage to low-income people over 65. About 91,000 people are in the program, and for most of them, switching to private coverage could cost hundreds of dollars more per year.
Seniors will pay more to enroll in the private schemes and will also have to pay more for prescription drugs – Medicare is forbidden by law from negotiating discounts with drug companies, while SeniorCare does offer substantial discounts.
Dennis Smith, the secretary of the Department of Health Services, said people with limited incomes would save money by enrolling in Medicare Part D because they would be eligible for subsidized coverage.
Those subsidies, however, are limited to people who have almost no savings: individuals with incomes of less than $16,335 a year and less than $12,510 in savings.
A person with an income of $12,000 a year – but $15,000 in savings meant to last the rest of his or her life – would not be eligible for a subsidy.
Please contact Sheila Harsdorf and Rep Knutson and tell them you want SeniorCare to remain unchanged.
Governor Walkerâ€™s proposed budget repair bill could have drastic implications for programs many Wisconsin seniors rely on.
The bill ( Special Session Senate Bill 11 and Assembly Bill 11) would allow Governor Walkerâ€™s administration to make big changes to Medicaid programs such as SeniorCare Rx, FamilyCare, and BadgerCare without public input or approval from the full state legislature.
The bill allows the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to study Wisconsinâ€™s Medicaid programs and then gives them sweeping authority to implement â€œemergencyâ€ rules that would go into effect without a vote from the full legislature. The bill also changes the criteria to define an emergency rule so it could be used for basic policy decisions â€“ the kind of decisions that we elect members of the state legislature to make. Instead, decisions about Medicaid programs could be made behind closed doors.
It’s time to quickly contact your representatives and get them to vote NO on this bill
Decisions could be made to increase costs for program participants, allow providers to deny service to those who canâ€™t share costs and change existing benefits.
The jobs bill currently in the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly may well have a lot of good things in it, but for some reason, it also singles out weakening legal protections for seniors in nursing homes.
The bill covers many topics, but there are nursing home provisions included that make it significantly harder to hold nursing homes accountable. The bill restricts the ability of the residents of nursing home and other long-term care facilities to obtain appropriate compensation for injures, neglect and abuse. It also denies families access to reports that show a pattern of abuse or mistreatment.
As a senior, I can’t see how this helps jobs, but I can clearly see how this hurts my rights. This bill may get voted on this week, so please contact your local rep and get these provisions removed.
The lame duck session of Congress seems likely to be packed with big contentious issues, but there is one fix that is vital for all seniors, and that is the Medicare Doctor’s Fix.Â Â Â Doctors get paid set fees for Medicare work , but unfortunately, the rates established by Congress 10 years ago are too low to cover doctors costs and so every year for the past 10 years, Congress has passed a one year quick fix to block these too low rates and to set reasonable rates for that year.Â Â We now need to have that happen again.
39 million seniors depend on Medicare, and if we don’t get Congress to act on this fix before Jan 1st, then many many doctors will be driven out of the Medicare system next year because rates will be below costs.Â Â Please contact your Congress people and urge them to act on the Medicare Doctors Fix.
It seems like we are going to be in a tough budget world for some time, so it seems to me that retaining strong safety net services should be a very high priority, especially for retired folk with fixed incomes. No doubt there will have to be trade offs as budgets get negotiated, but we are still a rich country and as a compassionate people we still need to find a way to properly support the needy and vulnerable, including those of us currently in retirement.
And we should also aim at having a long term perspective on these issues – our children and their children also deserve to inherit a set of social services and safety nets that will still be viable in their time.
hopefully the discussions on these pages can contribute to keeping these ideals as part of our reality.