Janesville42.7°

Rock Haven study on hold

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ANN MARIE AMES
April 20, 2008
— The state promises Family Care will increase services, reduce the number of patients in nursing homes and get rid of waiting lists for those needing long-term care or temporary care after a disabling injury.

Rock County officials have their doubts.


While officials study how Family Care will fit in Rock County, a study on Rock Haven’s needs has been put on hold, Director Sherry Gunderson said.


Until the number of patients becomes clearer, it will be hard to decide whether to renovate or rebuild the skilled care nursing home, she said.


Rock County won’t be tagged to participate in Family Care until after July 2009.


Planning for Family Care means searching for the answers to a lot of hard questions, Rock County Developmental Disabilities Board Director Tom Perry said.


As encouraged by the state, Rock has paired with Dane County in the planning process. A $130,000 planning grant for the two counties runs out in June. Judith Frye, director of the state Office of Family Care Expansion, hopes to see results by then.


But Perry thinks neither the Rock nor Dane county board will be ready to approve a plan by June.


“Are we going to run it, or are we going to wash our hands of it?” Perry said. “Would we run it by ourselves or in partnership with a different agency?”


While some officials are hashing over those and other questions, other officials are working on plans for an aging and disability resource center, which would act as a one-stop shop for those who rely on Rock County to care for them.


The state has promised to help fund the center, which would be needed to run Family Care. But to get the funding, Rock County has to have Family Care up and running first, said Jennifer Thompson, long-term support division manager.


The biggest question for Rock County planners is how Family Care itself will be funded, human services Director Charmian Klyve said.


For counties such as Dane and Rock, which historically have committed extra money to human services, locking spending at 22 percent seems like punishment, Klyve said.


If Rock County hands that money to the state to run long-term care, the money wouldn’t be available in an emergency for the county to shift to other programs, such as foster care or child protective services, Klyve said.


“You only have so many dollars, and we’ve been putting more dollars in,” Klyve said. “What services may not our clients be able to obtain? We have done, we think, a good job by our clients. It seems as if we’re penalized for doing a good job.”


Family Care officials say the program saves tax dollars by providing exactly what a patient needs and no more. Perry has his doubts that “no more than needed” care will be enough. For example, if an adult with developmental disabilities has been attending a work program five days a week, his family has planned around that. If the state decides only four days are necessary, the client loses a day of supervision and social activity, Perry said.


“He could get into trouble,” he said.



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