From Forbes McIntosh, Government Policy Solutions, WALA Lobbyist
Five Assembly Republicans, four who serve on the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care, last Friday sent a letter to the co-chairs of the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee saying they still have unanswered questions about the proposed Family Care/IRIS 2.0 program changes.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) submitted its Family Care/IRIS 2.0 concept paper to the Joint Finance Committee on March 31 and last Friday released a two-page report estimating that the proposed program changes would save the state at least $300 million over the next six years. According to DHS, action now will reduce the cost to taxpayers by more than $1,000 per Family Care member, per year, by year six.
At a meeting Wednesday with DHS Division of Long-Term Care, staff explained that the $300 million “savings” identified is not a reduction of current Medicaid or Family Care expenditures. Rather, the “savings” is a projected reduction of future projected Medicaid fee-for-service cost increases in acute-primary care. In short, these savings will not free up existing dollars, but rather reduce the rate of increasing costs. DLTC was emphatic that the projected “savings” recently announced is not based on projected cost reductions to long-term care providers.
But the five Republicans – including State Reps. Tom Weatherston of Racine, Romaine Quinn of Rice Lake, Kathy Bernier of Chippewa Falls, Dan Knodl of Germantown and Warren Petryk of Eleva – said in their memo to JFC co-chairs Rep. John Nygren and Sen. Alberta Darling that they have questions still about:
- Behavioral health quality measures
- Access by consumer advisory councils to IHA data
- Reporting on settings and how it might lead to reduced institutional placements
- Information in the IHA and MCO public scorecards
- DHS oversight of quality measures in the new Medicaid managed care system and how that will be accomplished
The Joint Finance Committee must approve the DHS concept paper, although there is no set timeline. Rep. Nygren did indicate this week, however, that JFC action might come within the next month.
Click here to read the memo from the Republican legislators.
Click here to read the DHS information released last Friday.