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American Rescue Plan Act: Medicaid HCBS Grants Success Stories

Success stories from Round 1 awardees

The following awardees have shown early success in their projects. We’re pleased to share key milestones and outcomes that awardees have achieved so far.

Capri Senior Communities | $907,000 | Ozaukee County

After implementing a pilot “4-for-5” workweek for their caregiving and dining staff, Capri has seen a huge increase in applicants and employees who stay with the company.

Capri Caregiver With Resident Doing a Puzzle
Capri Caregiver Coordinating Activity
Capri Caregiver With Resident

In the news

Great Lakes Senior Living | $42,100 | Racine County

Caregiver training has improved the quality of life for residents of Great Lake Senior Living through the ARPA grant. This includes Beloit Senior Living/The Gardens, Milton Senior Living, and Waterford Senior Living and Memory Care. At these locations, 67 multi-departmental staff received eight hours of comprehensive training specific to dementia, resulting in a much higher awareness of dementia-related cognitive issues to positively impact their work. It is further believed that this higher level of training will also have a positive effect on the turnover rates often seen in senior living communities.

During tours of our communities, families have stated that the company's dedication to this level of dementia training has had a substantial influence on their choice of community residence for their loved ones. This fall, an additional 16 employees will be trained by one of seven staff members who have been certified to teach the program. Great Lakes Senior Living plans to continue to measure caregivers’ progress, as well as afford staff opportunities to maintain the Certified Dementia Practitioner credential by supporting any additional continuing education unit requirements in the future. Great Lakes Senior Living initiated this training with The National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners.

In the news

Federal ARPA funds to provide dementia care training for staff at facilities in Racine, Rock counties | The Journal Times | November 7, 2022

Foundations Counseling Center | $345,000 | Dane/Green Counties

Mental health has been an increasing concern since the pandemic, with many people unable to find counseling due to a lack of therapists. Using a $325,000 grant, Foundations Counseling Center has successfully retained all 15 of its therapists – and hired an additional one. Foundations has been able to provide mental health services to 52 new Family Care Partnership clients and their families in three counties through in-home therapy, telehealth, and groups.

The center also is buying and distributing devices to clients for telehealth and developing marketing materials for onsite mental health and wellness groups to be provided in 10 counties. Overall, the grant helped reduce barriers to treatment and increased the mental health of clients and families.

The Director of Foundations Counseling Center Prepares for a Wellness Workshop As Part of the ARPA HCBS Grants Initiative
Alisa Kelly-Martina, Director of Foundations Counseling Center, helps prepare for for a wellness workshop at Fountainhead Homes in DeForest, Wisconsin for Family Care and Family Care Partnership clients.

Valley Packaging Inc. (VPI) Center | $242,740 | Outagamie County

Valley Packaging Inc. (VPI) is a community rehabilitation center offering human services and vocational skills training programs for individuals who experience disadvantages or have disabilities. All of VPI’s programs are designed to support and guide individuals while they reach their own optimum level of independence in the community.

VPI has created a Community Inclusion Manager position that schedules outings, speakers, and tours and volunteer opportunities for clients. Their clients interact with others from local businesses and get to know more about the community all while the community gets to know the great work from them.

Two VPI Clients Attend an Inclusion Outing As Part of the ARPA HCBS Grants-Funded Project
Justin Fait (left) and Houa Yang (right) on an inclusion outing with other peers from VPI’s Day Services program at a concert in downtown Appleton.

Options for Independent Living Inc. | $337,000 | Dane County

Options for Independent Living (Options) empowers people with disabilities to lead independent and productive lives through advocacy, and by providing information, education, and technology. With its grant, Options provided services to 19 HCBS members during the first quarter of the grant through their Modification Navigator (NAV) Pilot Program.

Funding was used to purchase a wheelchair docking pin that allowed member access to the community and employment in days instead of months. A temporary modular wheelchair ramp allowed another member to safely get in and out of his house without having to crawl up and down stairs. Options has also received referrals from IRIS agencies, including one member living in a rural area who had been trying for over a year to find contractors to provide estimates for a wheelchair ramp. Once the NAV Pilot got involved, the member had her wheelchair ramp installed within a month.

Wait times for members utilizing the NAV Program (for home and vehicle modifications and adaptive equipment) have been drastically reduced as a result. The NAV Pilot Program removes member’s barriers to create affordable, safe, and accessible housing. NAV also assists with members needing simple vehicle modifications or adaptive equipment.

Two Accessibility Assessment Specialists/Modification Navigators with Options for Independent Living Stand Beside Ricki and William On Their New Ramp
Accessibility Assessment Specialist/Modification Navigator Marie Smith (top left) and Sarah Dunks (top middle) stand with Ricki (top right) and her husband William (front center) celebrating the success of bringing William home. William spent over a year in a nursing facility after having a stroke. He couldn't return home because his house wasn't accessible.

Innovative ideas from Round 2 awardees

Many awardees in Round 2 are planning innovative ways to improve care and quality of life for those receiving home and community-based services.

University of Wisconsin—Whitewater | $378,353 | Rock County

Technology like smartphones, tablets, and computers, and applications like Facebook and Zoom, are valuable tools for older Wisconsinites. They allow them to connect with others, engage in activities, receive health services, get needed goods and services, and help them stay in their own homes. However, many rural adults over the age of 50 struggle with using devices and applications, and consequently fail to gain the full benefits. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is launching Intergenerational Technology Services. This program of services will include free technology training and one-on-one technology support to help rural southeastern Wisconsinites aged 50 and older with learning how to use technology and problem-solving their personal technology devices.

In the news

UW-Whitewater awarded $378,400 to support seniors’ use of technology | University of Wisconsin-Whitewater | September 11, 2023

Clarity Care, Inc | $158,455 | Winnebago County

A new food truck program will bring real-life work opportunities to Clarity Care’s supported employment participants. The food truck, bought with grant funding, will appear at festivals, farmers’ markets, and community events in Winnebago, Outagamie, and Brown counties. Participants will staff the food truck. They'll be able to engage with their communities and showcase their job skills.

Islands of Brilliance | $173,582 | Milwaukee County

This project will connect autistic young people with creative programming in six communities in central and northern Wisconsin. Small groups of autistic individuals ages 16-30 will meet weekly at public libraries with local “Brilliant Fellows" to participate in hybrid programming. Brilliant Fellows are special education and occupational therapy college students or paraprofessionals. Together, they’ll create art and other creative projects. This will help build critical social-emotional learning skills.

WisconSibs, Inc | $99,234 | Outagamie County

Programming for siblings of people with disabilities is often nonexistent. WisconSibs helps teach advocacy and provides supports and resources for these siblings. They plan to reach 50% more people by enhancing access to remote support, community engagement, and programming. A hybrid model of learning with a new digital curriculum will bring together siblings, families, program trainers, educators, social workers, and others. The goal is to help siblings find resources, get information, and become well-adjusted adults who strengthen their communities. Ultimately, better informed and involved siblings lead to better outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, LLC | $120,291 | Dane County

In partnership with the managed care organization Community Care, Inc., this project will offer the Poetry for Life program. This participatory arts program helps older adults and people living with dementia create and perform poems, stories, and songs. Poetry parties at select locations, home visits, and arts support calls will bring creative programming right to participants and families.

Other awardees in the news

Many awardees have received media attention since receiving grant funding. A selection of news clips show just some of the newsworthy work awardees are doing.

Last revised October 10, 2023