From Forbes McIntosh, Government Policy Solutions, WALA Lobbyist
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is working on revising the Family Care managed care organization (MCO) contracts for 2015 and shared a draft contract during last week Tuesday’s Wisconsin Long Term Care Advisory Council meeting in Madison. The 2015 MCO contract changes include language to satisfy community integration requirements of the new federal waiver rule, among other changes.
Beth Wrobleski, assistant administrator of the DHS Bureau of Long Term Care, said DHS has submitted its Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) transition plans for both Family Care and IRIS to CMS relating to compliance with the new federal rule relating to community integration but has not received any formal comment or feedback back from CMS on those transition plans. Meanwhile, DHS is putting together all of the components of a global transition plan that will address all of the rule changes impacting Wisconsin in a single place – that transition plan is due to CMS by January 15 and should be open for comments from the public soon. Long-term care providers are encouraged to check the DHS website this winter to view the plan and provide comments. Wroblewski said it won’t be dramatically different than the HCBS transition plan already submitted to CMS. Some members of the LTC Advisory Committee said Tuesday that they see a void from DHS on addressing the public’s questions on how the new federal rule will impact consumers – and they recommended that DHS compile a Frequently Asked Questions document for the public.
In other business on Tuesday:
- Wrobleski said that DHS has been working with Wisconsin’s tribes, including the Oneida and Menominee tribes, to submit a new Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) 1915(c) waiver that will give Wisconsin tribes an option to administer a HCBS program. If approved by CMS, each tribe will decide whether to create the infrastructure to operate the waiver. However, CMS has indicated that non-tribal members must also be allowed to be served by the tribe’s programs if desired, to avoid discrimination against non-tribal state residents. This could increase competition in the area. The waiver application is currently up for public comment through Nov. 24 and is posted on the DHS website.
- DHS has received two grants to assist with the state’s dementia-friendly initiatives as part of the Dementia Care System Redesign Plan. Some efforts underway include: the development of a tool kit for communities wishing to be designated “dementia-friendly,” a partnership with hospitals/clinics for a pilot study on how to improve the experience for people with dementia who are coming into their system and an offer to provide technical assistance to dementia care specialists. DHS representatives have also begun doing site visits to managed care organizations this summer to identify strengths and weaknesses relating to dementia care. DHS will also be doing outreach to nursing homes and hospitals to learn about their innovative efforts in providing care for people with Alzheimer’s/dementia.