WI-Family Care Program Enrollment Caps

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has proposed limits on enrollment for the Family Care program that services the elderly and disabled as one way to fill a projected state budget shortfall of $3 billion. The governor's freeze is projected to save nearly $100 million in state tax money.

A study was done for the Wisconsin Family Care Association, made up of public and private firms that arrange for services for the elderly and adults with disabilities served through the program. The review says the state is saving nearly $90 million a year by serving clients in Family Care when compared with a separate services program (both programs rely on Medicaid funding). The state has about 345,000 people enrolled in the program. If the freeze is enacted, many people currently on waiting lists for Family Care could end up in nursing homes, driving up state costs because nursing home care typically costs $4,000 a month or more. Average costs in Family Care are about $2,800 a month for care services provided at home. Milwaukee County has at least 2,000 on its Family Care waiting list. Some of those could end up at the county's Mental Health Complex, where acute care costs more than $1,300 a day.