From Forbes McIntosh, Government Policy Solutions, WALA Lobbyist:
More than 200 people attended the first of five regional listening sessions being held on the proposed dementia care system redesign plan by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). The first meeting was held Wednesday in Middleton, Wisconsin. DHS Secretary Kitty Rhoades was the initial speaker welcoming the public, introducing DHS staff in attendance and giving a brief overview. The secretary is expected to attend and speak at all the sessions being held around the state. By a show of hands, the first session was attended primarily by representatives of the dementia care provider and residential care provider profession, advocacy organizations and managed care organizations – along with members of the public. Comments and questions will be made available to the public on the DHS website. DHS videotaped the first meeting, which will be made available to the public on its website in the near future.
Self Disclosure. Kevin Coughlin (DHS-DLTC) commented during the session that the department is thinking of asking providers to self disclose they are dementia capable. DHS is considering creating a list of dementia-capable providers on its website. However, defining what dementia capable is and what types of services there are will need to be worked out. The list could help promote dementia training and provide a marketing opportunity for providers. An audience member asked about the training regimen that UW Oshkosh is working on for approximately $45 per person and whether there might be free trainings available for community or smaller (hardship) providers. In addition, questions were asked after the meeting on whether DHS will recognize other dementia training programs other than UW Oshkosh, as some larger providers, trade associations and advocacy groups already have existing programs that should be recognized. The department will be looking at all of these issues in an effort to promote training but ensure it is adequate.
Dementia Plan: Standard or Guideline? At the Wisconsin Long-Term Care Council meeting the day before, there was discussion on whether aspects of the Dementia Care Redesign will include regulatory requirements or will they be guidelines. Brian Shoup of DLTC stated that it is not their intent to institute more regulations, but that the department would like to use a stronger term than “guidelines.” It was discussed that the Family Care Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) may on their own seek provisions in their contract with providers – but DHS is not pursuing any changes to the contracts.
During the question and answer period some interesting information was provided:
- Where do Smaller Providers Fit. A question was raised on how the dementia plan fits with smaller community-based providers. DHS stated that the department has “a need for all types of providers.” DHS has and will continue to reach out to nursing home and assisted living provider associations on best practices. According to DHS Secretary Rhoades, “We (DHS) don’t want to do this to you, we want your advice on best practices. We want to see the industry to step up and make their voices heard.”
- MCO Perspective. One of the Family Care MCOs stated that they are doing a lot of work on this, specifically two areas: 1) building capacity and 2) promoting collaboration. The MCO, ContinueUs, said they are Investing and building capacity with providers – and suggested providers that offer services in dementia care in ContinueUs regions should reach out to them. The MCO is working on its plans to deal with the fact that some persons with dementia are highly complex and others are not.
- Music & Memory in Adult Day Care. A provider asked the question, when can DHS incorporate the music and memory initiative into adult day care? DHS pointed out that the initiative is focused on nursing homes now because the program is being funded with nursing home civil monetary penalties, which the federal government requires must be spent on nursing home initiatives. DHS is looking at a small pilot in the Oshkosh area that would support music and memory in the community, but DHS still needs to obtain funding. Secretary Rhoades commented that these pilot projects are helping train other entities in the community that can be used elsewhere. She used the example that some area Eagle Scouts are collecting used iPods and MP3s and providing to the local nursing homes.
- Dementia and Law Enforcement. One member of the audience stated that since the Helen E.F. court decision law enforcement is increasingly not getting involved with a dementia-related crisis, as they are no longer required to as they are under the mental health laws.
Friday, July 18
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
UW Union-Christie Theater
2420 Nicolet Drive
Green Bay, WI 54311
Tuesday, July 22
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Medical College of Wisconsin
Health Research Center Auditorium
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226
Click here to read “Wisconsin Dementia Care System Redesign.”
Click here to see the listening session agenda and meeting details.