Wisconsin Family Care

Wisconsin's long-term care system was redesigned in the mid-1990s. The redesign was prompted by concerns with

  • Cost and complexity of long-term care,
  • Inequities in availability and
  • Projections of our aging population’s growing demand for long-term care.

Over the next few years, consumers, advocates, providers and state and local officials collaborated for the design of the new approach to long-term care. As a result, Family Care was authorized by the governor and legislature in 1998 to serve adults with physical disabilities, adults with developmental disabilities and frail elders.

Benefits of Family Care:

  • Provides cost-effective, comprehensive long-term care,
  • Fosters consumers’ independence and quality of life and
  • Recognizes the need for interdependence and support.

Goals of Family Care:

  • Giving people better choices in where they live and what types of services/supports meet their needs,
  • Improving access to services,
  • Improving quality through focus on both health and social outcomes and
  • Creating a cost-effective system for the future.

Family Care's Two Major Organizational Components:

  • Aging and Disabilities Resource Centers (ADRCs) – The ADRCs are a single entry point where older people and people with disabilities and their families can get information and advice about a wide range of resources available to them in their local communities.
  • Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) – The MCOs manage and deliver the Family Care benefit which combines funding and services from a variety of existing programs into one flexible long-term care benefit – tailored to each individual’s needs and circumstances. MCOs operate under state contract with the Department of Health Services (DHS). Western Wisconsin Cares is an MCO.

MCO Family Care Services Include:WW Cares Family Care Services

  • Durable medical equipment
  • Therapies
  • Disposable medical supplies
  • Home modifications
  • Home-delivered meals
  • Assisted living/residential
  • Supportive home care
  • Personal care
  • Transportation
  • Nursing home
  • Other long-term care services

Each member in an MCO works with a team that includes a registered nurse and a social services coordinator. The team helps individual members identify goals and arrange for supports. Family Care provides a wide range of services and supports specially designed for each particular individual.

One of the most important things an MCO team will do is help members identify outcomes and develop a service plan to support the identified outcomes.

  • Service plans should be both reasonable and effective.
  • Members do not have to settle for plans that do not help them reach their goals or get in the way of successful outcomes.
  • An MCO may choose to provide a service in a less-expensive way if the service plan is still effective in helping members meet individual desired outcomes.

A study in 2005 indicated that Family Care saved more than $400 per member per month in Medicaid dollars, helped maintain wellness and prevented unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

In 2006, La Crosse County received a planning grant and began working with seven counties to expand Family Care into the region, including Buffalo, Clark, Jackson, Monroe, Pepin, Trempealeau and Vernon counties.

On October 1, 2008, the La Crosse County CMO became Western Wisconsin Cares (WWC), a Long-Term Care District. WWC opened four offices throughout the region in 2008 and 2009, including those in Blair, Mondovi, Neillsville and Sparta.

Full Family Care reports and evaluations are available on the State of Wisconsin Department of Human Services' website

WWC Growth:

  • Total WWC Membership as of October 1, 2008  1840 members
  • Total WWC Membership as of October 31, 2014  3,800 members
  • Before October of 2008 WWC employed approximately 129 people
  • Currently, WWC employs 250 people