COVID-19: ForwardHealth Program Updates for You and Your Family

We are committed to protecting the health and safety of our program participants during the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic. You are considered to be part of a ForwardHealth program if you participate in any of the programs listed below. Please check this page regularly to stay informed about the latest updates.

For information about COVID-19 and the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program, Emergency Assistance, and Wisconsin Works (W-2), visit the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families website.

 Note: Beginning in July, many families will start receiving monthly Child Tax Credit payments from the federal government as part of the American Rescue Plan. You do not need to report this payment to your agency. The amount you receive will not be considered as part of your income for any of Wisconsin's health care programs or for FoodShare.

Eligible families will receive payments automatically if they filed 2019 or 2020 federal tax returns. Families that didn't make enough to file taxes can apply for the Child Tax Credit online. If you have questions about these payments, you can find more information on the White House website.


Program updates as a result of COVID-19


This includes the Children’s Long-Term Support Program, Children’s Community Options Program, Birth to 3 Program, and Katie Beckett Medicaid.



This includes IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct), Family Care, Family Care Partnership, and PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly).


This includes Medicaid programs, such as BadgerCare Plus, SSI-Related Medicaid, and the Medicaid Purchase Plan.


This includes FoodShare and temporary food benefits in place of school meals, which are called Pandemic EBT.​


Broad changes in services as a result of COVID-19

These are changes that apply to many different programs.

 Rides to medical appointments

We will continue to provide rides to medical appointments (called non-emergency medical transportation) for members enrolled in the following programs:​​

  • BadgerCare Plus
  • Wisconsin Medicaid
  • Family Planning Only Services
  • Medicaid Purchase Plan
  • SSI Medicaid
  • IRIS
  • BadgerCare Plus Express Enrollment for Pregnant Women
  • Tuberculosis-Related Medicaid
  • Katie Beckett
  • Care4Kids
  • Children Come First
  • Wraparound Milwaukee

Please schedule rides with MTM as usual. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, please call your doctor to make sure you can be seen before you call MTM to schedule a ride. When you call MTM to schedule a ride, be sure to tell them if you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are feeling ill.

In most cases, rides are being limited to one member and one driver at this time.

 Same-day rides to COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Do you need a ride to a confirmed appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine? You can schedule a ride with MTM as soon as you confirm you have an appointment, even if it is the same day. Call MTM at 866-907-1493 (TTY 711). Please have the following information ready:

  • Your ForwardHealth ID (found on your ForwardHealth card)
  • The address of where you will get your vaccine


Note: If you are enrolled in Family Care, Family Care Partnership, or PACE, please contact your care manager if your transportation provider is changing, you need help arranging a ride, or have questions.

 Mailed prescriptions

If you are enrolled in a Wisconsin Medicaid program, BadgerCare Plus, or SeniorCare, you may be able to get your prescriptions mailed to your home. You may also be able to get a three-month supply. Please check with your pharmacy to see if you can do this.


If you are enrolled in Medicaid or BadgerCare Plus, you can get health care services, diagnoses, consultations, and treatment from your doctor or another health care provider through your phone, computer, or tablet instead of seeing them in person. This is called telehealth. You may hear your doctors or health plans call telehealth “e-visits” or “virtual visits.” If you are unsure if they are talking about telehealth, you should always feel free to ask!


Frequently asked questions are now available. Find answers to general questions about telehealth, covered services, and changes to in-person requirements.


How can I get care through telehealth?

When you contact your doctor, care manager, or health plan to set up an appointment, you can ask if you can get care through a telehealth appointment or they may ask you if you want a telehealth appointment. (They may also call it an e-visit or virtual visit.)

If you make a telehealth appointment, the doctor, care manager, or health plan will let you know how to use technology to join the appointment at the scheduled time. If they do not provide instructions or you are unsure how it will work, make sure you ask them for help. If you do not want to get care through telehealth or do not have the right technology for it to be effective, you can still see your doctor face-to-face. The decision whether to use telehealth or go see your doctor in person is up to you.

You should only use secure video and audio technology like Zoom or Skype for your telehealth appointments. Other public-facing platforms, such as Facebook Live, are less secure and should not be used. If you are not able to use video, you can still talk to your doctor on the phone to get care when appropriate.

What types of services can I get through telehealth?
Types of services available through telehealth
Service Examples
General health care
  • Meetings with specialists while in the hospital
  • Updating your plan of care while in a nursing home
  • Services from community-based health care centers, including those located in tribal communities
  • Prescriptions for medical equipment or disposable medical supplies
Behavioral health
  • Mental health screenings
  • Treatment programs designed to help you better manage your mental health symptoms and be more independent (called psychosocial rehabilitation programs), including services through the Comprehensive Community Services Program, Community Support Program, and Community Recovery Services
  • Behavioral treatment
  • Meetings with your health plan case managers
Basic dental care
  • Consultations to decide if you need to go to the dentist
  • Prescriptions to treat minor dental problems, like an infected tooth
What about things like immunizations that cannot be done through telehealth?

While you can get many services through telehealth, there are some, like recommended immunizations, that need to happen in person. This includes getting a flu shot, which is very important right now. The easiest way to get flu shots for yourself and your children is through making an appointment with your doctor. You may also be able to get shots at your local pharmacy, local health department, or at a community-based health care center. DHS can help you find an appointment near you.



Changes to in-person services

To protect your health and safety and to follow recommendations provided by federal, state, and local public health authorities, we have changed the way we provide some in-person services.

 Health care & FoodShare

Some income maintenance and tribal agencies are temporarily closed to in-person visits. You can find the status of your local office on the Income Maintenance and Tribal Agency Office Status Chart (PDF). These agencies provide eligibility services to people who are applying for or enrolled in health care programs like BadgerCare Plus and Medicaid, FoodShare, and the Wisconsin Share Child Care Subsidy Program (Wisconsin Shares).

Applicants and members are encouraged to apply for and manage their health care, FoodShare, and Wisconsin Shares benefits using the ACCESS website. They are also encouraged to use the MyACCESS mobile app to check the status of their benefits, get important reminders, and submit documents.

Call centers will still be open their regular hours, Monday through Friday. Please bear with us as there may be longer than usual wait times.

 Children's services

Children's Long-Term Support (CLTS) Program and Children's Community Options Program (CCOP)

Effective May 13, 2020, all support and service coordination contacts can be made either face-to-face or remotely (by phone or other electronic or virtual method). This decision is up to the family, and includes the following types of contacts:

  • In‐person contacts and assessments
  • Initial or recertification CLTS Functional Screens

In-person contacts can be replaced by phone or online contact that will not jeopardize the health and safety of the child and family. County waiver agencies will work with families to decide if they want face-to-face or remote service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The family leads this decision.

Discussion with the family about face-to-face support and service coordination will address available options for service delivery and the risks of each option.

Face-to-face services are still allowed. Families, county waiver agencies, and providers will work together to determine the best way to continue to support the needs of the family.

Some services may now be provided through phone calls or online

  • Community integration services
  • Counseling and therapeutic services, including camps, for which the desired outcome can be accomplished via verbal and visual cueing
  • Daily living skills training
  • Day services
  • Home modifications
  • Housing counseling
  • Mentoring
  • Relocation services
  • Support and service coordination
  • Supported employment –individual
  • Supported employment – small group
  • Supportive home care

Some group setting services can now be provided remotely (by phone or other virtual method)

  • Counseling and therapeutic services for which the desired outcome can be accomplished via verbal and visual cueing
  • Community integration services
  • Consumer education and training
  • Daily living skills training
  • Day services
  • Housing counseling
  • Mentoring
  • Supported employment–small group
  • Supportive home care
  • Training for parents and/or guardians and families of children with disabilities


Birth to 3 Program

Effective May 13, 2020, the following contacts can be made either face-to-face or remotely (by phone or other electronic or virtual method).

  • Intake (initial home visits)
  • Evaluation and individualized family service plans
  • Ongoing service delivery (home visits)
  • Service coordination

Families and county Birth to 3 Programs will discuss options for service delivery, either face-to-face (in the home) or remote. This discussion should address available options for service delivery and risks associated with each option. Programs are not required to provide face-to-face (in-person) services.

Katie Beckett Medicaid

As of March 13, 2020, DHS has suspended face-to face contact requirements. Children’s Long-Term Support (CLTS) Functional Screens and eligibility determinations may now be done with phone or electronic contacts.

All recertification activities are suspended.

 Adult long-term care

Family Care, Family Care Partnership, and PACE

In-person contacts with your care team can be made face to face using appropriate safety precautions. This includes:

  • Routine in-person contacts and assessments
  • Long Term Care Functional Screens


In-person contacts with your IRIS consultant can be made face to face using appropriate safety precautions. This includes:

  • Routine in-person contacts with IRIS consultants and/or Self-Directed Personal Care nurses
  • Annual Individual Support and Service Plan
  • Long Term Care Functional Screens



 Fraud alert

Everyone needs to watch out for COVID-19-related fraud! Scammers are using the COVID-19 pandemic to benefit themselves. Scammers may offer COVID-19 testing or treatment through phone calls, social media, and/or door-to-door visits. These services are not real and will not help you.

The scammers want to steal your personal information, such as your Social Security number, bank information, ForwardHealth ID, and QUEST card number or PIN. Scammers use this information to steal money or your identity.

You should not answer any ads for COVID-19 testing or treatment or give out any personal information in this emergency unless you know who you are talking to. If someone calls or visits you about COVID-19 and you think they are a scammer, you can report it.



Supporting your family through COVID-19

If you have questions about ways to protect yourself and your family, please check out the resources below.


Other infographics and print resources


Are you a county agency administering a program that serves children with delays or disabilities, such as CLTS, CCOP, or Birth to 3?

Get county-specific updates on program and service changes during the pandemic.

Last Revised: July 26, 2021

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