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

Lakeland Care Inc is one of five managed care organizations in Wisconsin
Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 5:28 PM CST
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LUXEMBURG, Wis. (WBAY) - Residents with Medicaid staying at some assisted living facilities in Northeast Wisconsin may be forced out on April 1 because of rate cuts managed care organizations are proposing to these providers.

These facilities told Action 2 News they were blindsided by a document they received last week.

“I couldn’t believe it honestly, I thought this didn’t make any sense,” Goodlife Assisted Living Inc. Director Tim Burns said.

He operates several of these homes in the Lakeshore area.

Lakeland Care Inc told Burns that at four of his facilities it’s reducing the daily rate it pays providers like his by 9 percent, according to documents he provided to Action 2 News.

“They made us aware that they were going to try and create a new model to determine levels of care. They didn’t make us aware that there was going to be a reduction in the overall rate,” Burns said.

Lakeland Care is one of five managed care organizations (MCOs) in Wisconsin, which oversee long-term care for the elderly and people with disabilities enrolled in “Family Care” - a state Medicaid program.

The assisted living facilities Action 2 News spoke with said if these proposed reductions go into effect on April 1, they’ll have to make cuts to their services, including possibly letting go of some of their employees.

“This is what I’m trying to get across to everybody. With the rate that they’re offering us, we can’t safely take care of these people. We can’t adequately take care of these people because ’m going to be forced to reduce my staff,” Lori Hucek, the administrator for the Autumn Fields Senior Living Communities, said.

Hucek added they’re also getting a 9 percent reduction. Autumn Fields is already having trouble attracting residents to its 20-bed facility. Four of its residents are under Lakeland Care.

“If nothing comes back successful with, you know, the daily rate, I will be planning a 30 day discharge to their families,” Hucek said.

The chief executive officer for Lakeland, which state records showed brought in $5 million in profits last year from January to September, said the company faces a nearly $11 million shortfall this year and not all providers are receiving a 9 percent reduction.

“What reimbursement we’re getting from the [Wisconsin] Department of Health Services is the same thing that we are then in alignment with paying our residential providers,” CEO Sara Muhlbauer said.

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