Wisconsin Joint Committee Approves Proposal To Expand Family Care To Additional Counties

The Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin Legislature on Thursday voted 15-1 to approve a proposal that would allocate $80.6 million over the next two years to fund an expansion of Family Care, a state program that provides long-term care to elderly and disabled residents, the AP/Janesville Gazette reports. Under the proposal, part of the fiscal year 2007-2009 state budget proposed by Gov. Jim Doyle (D), the program, which currently covers about 10,500 state residents in seven counties, would expand to additional counties. The program seeks to provide long-term care at home or in the community, rather than in nursing homes or other institutions, to help reduce costs.

The proposal would allow the state Department of Health and Family Services to expand the program to any county (Richmond, AP/Janesville Gazette, 5/25). However, the committee would have the authority to suspend proposed expansions of the program to ensure they would result in reduced costs, a level of oversight that Doyle had proposed to eliminate (Marley, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 5/24).

In addition, DHFS would have to provide documentation of consent from counties in which the department proposes to expand the program (AP/Janesville Gazette, 5/25). The proposal would finance the expansion of the program with $20.1 million in state funds, $20.6 million in federal funds and $39.9 million in county funds. The proposal requires approval by the full state Legislature and Doyle

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