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The Budget and How It May Affect Those with Disabilites Part 1

Governor Walker has released his biennial budget request for 2011-2013 as a first step in the state budget process. The request now goes to the Joint Committee on Finance. In April, the Finance Committee will hold public hearings about the budget request around the state.

This alert is the first of three alerts about items in the budget request affecting people with disabilities. This alert covers items included in the Department of Health Services (DHS) section of the request. The second alert will cover education and the third alert will cover transportation and other items.

Medicaid: The budget repair bill gives the Secretary of the Department of Health Services broad powers to change the program through the administrative rules process. Substantial changes to the Medicaid and BadgerCare Programs could be made; however, no changes have been proposed at this time. People receiving services can still get those services.

The intention stated in the biennial budget request is to preserve Medicaid, BadgerCare Plus and SeniorCare for populations that depend on them by making significant and immediate program reforms.

Few details about the reforms are provided, though broad outlines are given:

  • Reduce Medicaid funding by $500 million over the two years.
  • Offer multiple, customized benefit plans tailored to the needs of specific populations.
  • Bring the health care coverage of working families in line with private insurance.
  • More closely manage the care provided to high-needs individuals to prevent avoidable complications and reduce unnecessary services.
  • Develop innovative models of service delivery to realign provider incentives with better outcomes.
  • Coordinate care that is covered by both Medicare and Medicaid                                                                  
  • Expand programs that encourage and support the self-direction of services, giving individuals the opportunity to decide how and when services are delivered to best meet their needs while promoting efficient use of services.
  • Assist recipients of services to make healthy lifestyle choices, manage their benefits effectively and avoid unnecessary care.

Family Care Ombudsman Program: Funded at current levels.

Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs): Expansion of ADRCs will
continue statewide using the current funding formula.

Children’s Long Term Support: The new placements that were funded in the
2009-11 biennium are fully funded in the budget request.

Developmental Disability Centers: Restore positions and funding at
Southern Center to reflect the number of placements actually made.

Mental Health: No increase in state dollars is included. The scope of
services covered by the Community Recovery Services program is expanded
to allow counties to claim federal Medicaid reimbursement for the
services. Cuts to shared revenue and other county funding sources are
expected to lead to cuts in county funded mental health services.

Quality Home Care Authority: The Authority was eliminated in the Budget
Repair Bill.

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