February 22, 2016
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683

Family Care/IRIS 2.0: Benefits and Self-Direction

Reform focused on maintaining, improving long-term care benefits now and for the future

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is working on the planned redesign of the Family Care/IRIS 2.0 initiative, to protect and improve long-term care services for some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, as required by Act 55.  Today, as DHS works to finalize the Family Care/IRIS 2.0 concept paper, Secretary Kitty Rhoades reconfirmed the Department’s commitment to self-direction of services through IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct).

“The Department of Health Services remains committed to not only sustaining, but improving the services seniors and individuals with disabilities need, while ensuring financial stability of the program for the long-term,” Department of Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades said. “One of the goals of Family Care/IRIS 2.0 is to coordinate all aspects of an individual’s long-term health and behavioral health care needs.  I want to reassure current Family Care and IRIS members that self-direction benefits available today will still be available when we implement Family Care/IRIS 2.0.”

In preparation for drafting the concept paper for Family Care/IRIS 2.0, DHS collected written testimony and gathered public input at eight public hearings across the state in locations including Green Bay, Hayward, Wausau, La Crosse, Milwaukee and Madison, which were also available by webinar.  DHS also met with multiple advocacy groups, boards, councils and committees.  

“Through the process of developing our concept paper for Family Care/IRIS 2.0, we received feedback from providers, stakeholders, and members about the importance of maintaining the ability to self-direct long-term care services the way members are able to do today through the IRIS Program,” said Secretary Rhoades. “Under the redesign, we will require all Integrated Health Agencies to allow members to self-direct all long-term care services that are currently able to be self-directed.”

Family Care/IRIS 2.0 Concept Paper Design: Self-Direction

  • The Integrated Health Agency will be required to develop an individual’s IRIS budget for self-direction based on assessment of the member’s care needs.
  • An IRIS specialist will perform the same functions as the current IRIS consultant agency and will assist IRIS members in identifying long-term care needs and developing an individualized plan to meet those needs.
  • Members will continue to have budget authority and full employer authority.  
  • Individuals who are currently eligible to self-direct will have the choice to self-direct under Family Care/IRIS 2.0.

Family Care/IRIS 2.0 Concept Paper Design: Benefits

  • Behavioral Health benefits will be covered and managed by the Integrated Health Agency.
  • Institutional care, including nursing home care, will continue to be available both through an Integrated Health Agency and through traditional fee-for-service, depending on the individual’s choice.
  • Transportation will be managed by the Integrated Health Agency.
  • The range of benefits for people enrolled in long-term care programs will remain the same after the implementation of Family Care/IRIS 2.0.

Family Care/IRIS 2.0 Public Hearings

The Department of Health Services hosted eight public hearings (two required under statute), gathered written testimony, and met with many groups and organizations over the past several months to offer interested parties an opportunity to participate in the redesign process. To further build on this collaboration, DHS has scheduled two additional public hearings to be held after the concept paper is released the first week of March.  Written comments are also welcome through March 7, 2016.  Implementation of Family Care/IRIS 2.0 is subject to federal approval.

Monday, March 7, 2016
9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Florian Gardens Conference Center
2340 Lorch Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54701

Monday, March 7, 2016
4:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall
1919 Alliant Energy Center Way
Madison, WI 53713

Public hearings will be streamed live.