Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Press Release

Wisconsin Submits Plan to Enhance and Improve Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services

Central to the plan are critical initiatives to strengthen the caregiving workforce left out of state budget passed by legislature

By - Jul 14th, 2021 01:51 pm

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has submitted a plan to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to improve and enhance Wisconsin’s home and community-based services under Medicaid. DHS estimates it will receive approximately $350 million under this part of ARPA. Key components of the plan that support Wisconsin’s caregiving workforce include increasing rates for home and community-based services and expanding the professional advancement opportunities for the workers who provide these services.

“Strengthening our caregiver workforce and making investments in the services that many seniors and people with disabilities rely on across our state are critical steps we must take to support our economic recovery from the pandemic,” said Governor Tony Evers. “We are fortunate to have access to these federal funds to move these efforts forward since many of the proposals to support and strengthen our caregiving workforce included in my proposed state budget were removed by the legislature and not included in the budget that was recently passed.”

In consultation with key stakeholders and partners, DHS assembled a plan that will continue to advance Wisconsin’s successful record of implementing innovative programs that enable older adults and people with disabilities to live independently in their homes and communities. In Wisconsin, these efforts include the Family Care, Family Care Partnership, IRIS, PACE and the Children’s Long-Term Support programs, as well as personal care, private duty nursing, home health, and rehabilitative services provided to eligible Medicaid members.

“Wisconsin has long been a national leader in developing and implementing programs that allow the elderly and people with disabilities to live their best lives in their homes and communities. In 2021, we achieved a major milestone by fully eliminating the adult waiting list for home and community-based services,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “The ARPA funds designated by Congress and President Biden to support state home and community-based services will help us continue to build on that success and help stabilize and the services people depend upon as well as the workforce needed to provide them.”

Foundational to Wisconsin’s plan is a commitment to ensuring all eligible people in Wisconsin have access to home and community-based services by addressing health disparities and focusing on equity in program design and access. In addition to working with the Governor’s Health Equity Council to support implementation of the approved plan, DHS will work alongside community-based organizations that share our commitment to addressing disparities within the home and community based service system for Black, Indigenous, and people of color, people with varying abilities, people living in extremely rural areas, and other historically underserved and disadvantaged communities. Wisconsin is also engaging in individual conversations with each of the 11 federally recognized tribes to identify ways to enhance HCBS services for tribal members under the proposals in the submitted plan.

CMS is currently reviewing Wisconsin’s plan, along with those plans submitted by other states. Implementation efforts will begin once CMS approval is received.

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