March 12, 2010
1310Sen. Fitzgerald Calls on State to Review Jefferson County FamilyCare Problems
This week, I called for a Department of Health Services review of the FamilyCare situation in Jefferson County. The program, which was created to care for seniors and adults with disabilities, has fallen under criticism for the failure of a state contractor, Care Wisconsin, to pay Jefferson County providers for months of services.
I have been contacted by numerous county officials and FamilyCare providers about Care Wisconsin’s lack of payment to providers since October and November of 2009. The Department of Health Services contracts with Care Wisconsin to provide FamilyCare services to the elderly and disabled populations in Jefferson County, yet FamilyCare recipients’ needs are not being met due to Care Wisconsin’s failure to pay their providers.
Care Wisconsin’s lack of payments has created a dire situation in Jefferson County with FamilyCare providers being forced to take out loans, eliminate staff, or refuse patient treatment to stay solvent until they receive their payments. As a result, the poor and elderly citizens in this program are needlessly suffering. In some situations, they are being denied medical treatment due to Care Wisconsin not paying its bills for months, resulting in these vulnerable members having to go to the emergency room for care.
There is no reason for this to spiral into such a crisis situation. The Department of Health Services (DHS) should have addressed this problem as soon as Care Wisconsin missed its first payment rather than allowing it to escalate for months. That is why I contacted the Department of Health Services Secretary to rectify this problem and discuss the steps that are being taken to eliminate these FamilyCare concerns.
It is troubling to see the problems that are occurring in FamilyCare, particularly when the current leadership in the Legislature wants to create even more government-run health care programs. It is illogical to create or expand more DHS programs when the Department is having serious problems managing its current ones. In the end, those who will suffer will be the most vulnerable of our state’s population.
If you have comments, questions or would like more information, please call me at (608) 266-5660, write to me at P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707-7882, or visit my website: www.senatorfitzgerald.com