Local ADRC’s Deserve Legislative Support
In the mid-1990’s Wisconsin made the decision to create Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC’s). These centers have spread throughout Wisconsin and have been used as a model for many other states for best practice in local long term care support. This model of “a local one stop shop” for the elderly and disabled managed on a non-profit basis in local communities is truly a success story for Wisconsin. ADRC’s are charged with helping individuals to use their own financial, family and community resources efficiently and effectively. ADRC’s are available for all residents to use, regardless of income or personal resources and have a mission to empower people to make informed choices.

Unfortunately, Governor Walker has proposed that ADRC’s do not need to operate in every county and that services could be provided on a statewide basis managed by a private for profit company. Local ADRC governing boards with elderly and disabled board members would simply be eliminated. ADRC Boards are not alone; the successful self-directed IRIS program is also eliminated and existing local management for Family Care is also set aside in favor of the statewide management program. ADRC’s help the elderly and disabled and their families by providing counsel regarding options for in home services and care that help people stay in their own home and out of nursing homes and institutions. For the past 20 years I have volunteered delivering meals on wheels once or twice a month. Many clients are referred to the program by our local ADRC. The relationships I have built with participants have truly shown me that ADRC’s are needed and necessary in our communities. You simply cannot substitute local knowledge and support.

Obviously, the first question we would like Governor Walker to answer is why should we throw out programs like ADRC’s that work successfully locally with a core set of volunteers and not for profit experts in favor of a statewide program that will be run for profit? These choices make no sense for the people of Wisconsin and should be outright rejected by the Republican controlled Legislature. I will do my part on the Joint Committee on Finance to repeal Governor Walker’s proposed privatization of ADRC’s, IRIS and regional management of Family Care. Elimination of local systems to create bigger private systems of care for individuals seems like a bad idea.

For more information on Governor Walker’s proposed budget or on ARDC’s in your area please contact my office at 888-549-0027 or 608-266-6770 or via email at sen.erpenbach@legis.wi.gov