Following First Alert Investigation, state lawmakers approve 5% funding increase for assisted living facilities – WBAY

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Governor Tony Evers and the GOP-led legislature are taking action to address the state’s long-term care crisis by using federal Covid-19 funds.

This comes following a First Alert Investigation that aired last week showing an increase in the number of assisted living facilities closing.

Thousands of assisted living facilities will see an extra 5% in Medicaid funding allocated to them starting on January 1, 2022.

“These funds will help you know, hopefully, to offset providers who are thinking about closing their doors,” Wisconsin Assisted Living Association President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Pochowski said. “But also for those that can continue, just to help offset all these increase costs that they’ve been enduring and incurring.

The legislature’s Joint Finance Committee on Monday approved a funding request the Wisconsin Department of Health Services made on November 22 for $156.3 million in American Rescue Act Funds.

That money will go to providers that are part of Wisconsin’s Medicaid program called Family Care, representing a 5% increase for assisted living facilities.

“This could be spread across. It could go to wages, food expenses, utility expenses, whatever expenses providers are incurring right now,” Pochowski said.

Wisconsin’s five managed care organizations will distribute the money, yet, the legislature set the rate providers will receive.

A First Alert Investigation revealed a steady climb over the past three years in assisted living facilities closing with 156 shutting down this year from January to the end of September.

REALTED: Number of long-term care facilities closing has increased the last 3 years

RELATED: Green Bay long-term care facility closing one of its buildings in response to proposed Medicaid funding cuts

RELATED: NE Wisconsin assisted living facilities face funding cuts impacting residents enrolled in state Medicaid program

RELATED: Residents of NE Wisconsin long-term care facilities face evictions due to proposed Medicaid cuts

During last week’s DHS covid media briefing, Action 2 News asked Governor Evers about the issues with long-term care… including staffing shortages.

“We have tried to increase the resources going to employers in the health care industry to make sure that they are able to compete,” the governor said.

We reached out to providers we previously spoke with and they say while 5% isn’t a lot it does help. Managed care organizations will start receiving the funds on January 1, 2022 and then distribute it the money.

Copyright 2021 WBAY. All rights reserved.