From Forbes McIntosh, Government Policy Solutions, WALA Lobbyist
The state Assembly last week approved a bill to expand Family Care and IRIS programs to Rock County by July 1, 2016. The Assembly passed Assembly Bill 453 last week Tuesday via voice vote. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it awaits scheduling for a floor vote in that body.
Rock County Administrator Josh Smith said earlier this fall at the bill public hearing that AB 453 will help eliminate the 390-person wait list and make the transition to Family Care 2.0 easier.
State officials had assumed during 2015-17 state budget deliberations 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 this fall that 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.