Look for Family Care in 2015

Last week we reported that Door and six other Northeastern Wisconsin counties were approved by Gov. Scott Walker for expansion into the long-term care program for the elderly and disabled known as Family Care. We heard from the state what happens next in this six- to 18-month process to roll Family Care out in the seven counties. This week we hear what it takes on the county end from Door County Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach.

The first step is for the state to put up a Request for Proposal (RFP) that will hopefully attract bids.

“We do have some meetings coming up in the next month with some interested companies who want to find out a little bit about how our operations run to see if they want to put in a bid,” Krebsbach said.

One of the specifics the companies will be looking at is the client base in each county.

“It’s a managed care model,” Krebsbach said. “So part of the way managed care works, the higher volume of clients, the better for the company because they’re getting a per capita rate based on the number of clients.”

Krebsbach explained that Family Care is provided to three very different groups of clients: the developmentally disabled, the physically disabled and the frail elderly.

As a group, the costs to maintain the frail elderly in Family Care are significantly less than the other two groups, which will make a difference when the bidding begins.

In 2010 Door and the six other Northeastern Wisconsin counties (Brown, Kewaunee, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto and Shawano) formed a quasi-governmental organization called Northeast Wisconsin Family Care (NEW FC) to serve as a unified “long-term care district.”

“We don’t know this for sure, we anticipate whoever bids on the seven counties will bid on the whole region at once,” Krebsbach said. “I imagine that depends also on how the state writes the RFP. I make an assumption they will put it out as ‘take the whole thing or nothing, don’t break it up into pieces,’ especially since we’ve been working so many years, trying to work all together so when we go into Family Care, the transition would be easier.”

Krebsbach said the previously reported six to 18 months to implement Family Care in the expansion counties is an accurate estimate.

Once RFP goes out, say in a month, there will likely be a 90-day process for bidders to submit. That makes it August. Then the state could take another 60 days to make a decision. That’s October. Then there’s whatever internal gyrations the winning bidder has to go through.

“Then the timing of when they roll it out would be between the company and the seven counties,” Krebsbach said. “Realistically, four to six months for that.”

Even though the rollout may be a year or more off, Krebsbach said the prospects for it happening look better than the last time Family Care was scheduled for approval.

“I’m feeling confident Family Care is coming, although we were in this boat before,” he said. “We thought we were going to go live in March of 2012. That previous summer the governor put a halt on it in the budget, so…”