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La Crosse Resolution

As a result of the success that the Kenosha County Long Term Care Workforce Alliance (see Kenosha Resolution) had with passing a county board resolution to support additional funding for long term care programs, representatives from the Coulee LTC Workforce Coalition worked with the La Crosse County Board to pass a similar resolution.


The La Crosse County Resolution passed February 15th and urged the Governor, local legislative representatives and the Counties Association to support a 5% increase in Medicaid reimbursement to nursing homes, personal care, home health, and a 5% increase in Community Aids.

Govenor's Budget

On February 13, 2006 the Governor gave his budget address to the Legislature. The budget included the following initiatives related to long term care:


•1% increase in Year 1(Y1) and 2% increase in Year 2 (Y2) to non-institutional providers such as personal care and home health;
•2% annual increase to nursing home, paid for by a monthly $50 increase in the bed assessment;
•Implements a five-year statewide phase-in of the Family Care program; and
• Provides $167,000 in each year of the biennium to provide funding to support the “Quality Home Care Commission.”


The budget includes no increases to the Community Integration Project, the Community Options Program, and Community Aids.

Joint Finance Activities

The Joint Finance Committee hearing ended last week and the long term care community was able to show up at all the hearings! A total of 20+ people attended the six hearings and 16+ people testified on behalf of the 5% increase to CIP, COP, personal care, home health, nursing homes, and Community Aides. Additionally, a number of the individuals who testified were approached by committee members, their aides, or other legislators from the area and were asked for further information about the increase. The media was also interested in the 5% increase. A radio reporter interviewed two individuals and Judy Ellenberger from Creative Community Living Services was quoted in the March 28 th Eau Claire Leader Telegram article, "Finance Committee Listens to Local Concerns."

Read the testimony of a personal care worker and a nursing home administrator.

Forum

On October 16 th the Coulee Region Long Term Care Workforce Coalition hosted theMake our Voices Heard 2006 Candidates' Forum at UW- La Crosse Cleary Alumni & Friends Center. Congratulations goes out to the Coulee Coalition who hosted the only candidate forum in WI related to the long term care workforce. Candidates from the 3 rd congressional district and Assembly Districts 91, 92, 94, 95 & 96 attended. In total 12 our of 14 invited candidates attended the forum.



An audience of over 100 consumers, providers, direct care workers, and other interested individuals listened as the candidates opening remarks, answer prepared questions, and closing remarks. Additionally one question from the audience was put to the candidates' consideration.

Dr. Joe Heim, UW-L Political Science professor and a represenatative from the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, moderated the forum. The forum was sponsored by AgeAdvantage, Bethany Lutheran Homes, Franciscan Skemp, Independent Living Resources, La Crosse County Aging Unit, Trempealeau County Long Term Care Coalition, WI Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Workforce Connections, Inc.

The coalition plans to maintain contact with future elected officials, especially following up with those who supported the legislative priorities of the coalition.

Letters/Calls to Legislators

The Joint Finance hearings are officially over, and the Joint Finance Committee's first Executive Session related to the biennial budget is scheduled to start next Thursday. There is concern, however, within the Capital that the Executive Session will be postponed until agreement exists between legislative leadership about whether they will vote on the Governor's budget or create a new budget.


In the interim and during the budget deliberations, which can take several weeks, the Alliance is asking the long term care community to contact Joint Finance Committee members and their legislators to urge them to support the 5% rate increase to the CIP, the COP, personal, care, home health, nursing homes, and Community Aides. An easy way to accomplish this would be to write a letter to the Joint Finance Committee Chairs Kitty Rhoades and Russ Decker and carbon copy all committee members and your personal legislators. The legislative home page will assist you with identifying yourlegislators and their addresses. Another alternative is to call the Committee Chairs and your legislators.