December 10, 2019
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

Nationally-Recognized Family Care Program Approved for Five More Years

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced today that the nationally-recognized Family Care program has been approved to continue for five more years. Family Care allows frail elders and adults with physical, developmental, or intellectual disabilities to remain in their homes or communities whenever possible. The approval comes from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on DHS’ waiver renewal applications, and secures funding for the program for the next five years.

“Wisconsin folks are independent by nature, and all of us want to be able to live, work, and play among the people and places that matter to us. That ideal shouldn't be out of reach for people who are advancing in age or who have a disability,” said Governor Tony Evers. “Family Care helps older folks and adults with disabilities live their best lives.”

CMS approved the DHS waiver renewal applications on November 27, 2019, extending federal approval and funding through December 31, 2024. Waivers are agreements between the state and CMS that allow certain Medicaid programs to operate in ways that are different from traditional Medicaid programs.

“Our Family Care program is a national model in long-term care because we give people better choices about the services and supports they receive and that leads to better health and social outcomes in a cost-effective way,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “This extension confirms that Wisconsin is a successful innovator in our approaches to long-term care.”

Family Care was created in 1999 as part of an effort to overhaul Wisconsin’s long-term care system. In 2000, it was piloted in a few Wisconsin counties and the success in those counties led to Family Care being expanded to more counties in 2007. By the end of 2010, Family Care was serving more than 30,000 participants in 56 counties. Today, Family Care serves 53,571 participants in all 72 Wisconsin counties.

Long-term care is any service or support that a person may need because of disability, getting older, or having a chronic illness that limits their ability to do the things that are part of their daily routine. This can include tasks such as bathing, getting dressed, making meals, going to work, and paying bills.