From Forbes McIntosh, Government Policy Solutions, WALA Lobbyist
The Joint Finance Committee voted 16-0 Wednesday afternoon to expand Family Care to Rock County.
Rock County Administrator Josh Smith and Rep. Amy Loudenbeck were among those who testified in support of the bill, Assembly Bill 453, at the public hearing prior to the vote. Smith said Rock County has been in preparation for expanding into Family Care for many years, and in 2014 the Rock County Board of Supervisors voted to affirm its intent to move to Family Care. Smith said the move will help eliminate the 390-person wait list and make the transition to Family Care 2.0 easier.
A representative of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau said during the hearing that the 2015-17 state budget, which called for a revised – and statewide – Family Care system, anticipated that all non-Family Care counties would come in by January 1, 2017, in one fell swoop. It wasn’t anticipated that before then an individual county would request the authority to expand the program. Currently, the Family Care and IRIS programs are available in 64 of the state’s 72 counties.
The bill would exempt the Department of Health Services from the requirement to solicit the contract under a competitive sealed proposal process. Rep. Loudenbeck said because Rock County is one individual county it will likely be paired with an existing MCO or consortia – and they would not be well-served by going through a lengthy procurement process for an MCO.
Loudenbeck also noted that, according to DHS, no other county other than Rock is requesting to expand into Family Care prior to 2017.
Democratic committee member Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) questioned why a Republican legislator would advocate for another county to join the existing Family Care system that the GOP is about to dismantle through Family Care 2.0.