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

Infinity Care may lose tens of thousands of dollars in funding
Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 7:09 PM CST
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LUXEMBURG, Wis. (WBAY) - Several people staying at long-term care facilities may be forced out in the next few weeks because of proposed cuts to Medicaid funding.

That looming decision, which is due to a decrease in the amount of money the state of Wisconsin is allocating this year to some Managed Care Organizations, has some families in a state of panic.

“I was shocked and I thought, I didn’t know where we can turn really and my first thing was to pray about it,” Chris Kriescher of New Franken said.

Her 35-year-old son Nicholas has mental disabilities and lives at Infinity Care in Luxemburg.

“Nick is happy there. We see him every week, we pick him up and we go to church,” Chris said.

“We used to,” her husband Don interjected.

“We used to before the pandemic but it will open up again,” Chris said.

Their son’s four-year stay at Infinity is in jeopardy because of cuts Lakeland Care Inc. is proposing to the funding his facility receives for his stay.

Cheryl Lacenski was as shocked as the Kriescher family. Her brother is also staying at Infinity and he’s dealing with dementia.

“He needs 24/7 care so he has to be in an 8 bed or less facility. He can’t be at the one here in Denmark,” Lacenski said.

What the Kriescher and Lacenski’s have in common is their relatives are enrolled in Lakeland Care, which is one of five Managed Care Organizations or MCO’s in Wisconsin.

“He’s not just some merchandise you can throw out in the street. Lakeland gave Infinity Care the option, either they take the funding cuts or they gave them a 30 day eviction notice,” Lackenski said.

As Action 2 News has been reporting, Lakeland is proposing a nine percent cut set for April 1 in payments it sends some of the long-term care facilities where their members live.

MCO’s distribute funds to these facilities for patients who are part of the state’s Medicaid “Family Care” program.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, it allocates Medicaid funds to MCO’s based on projected costs and that includes the complexity of care for each member.

DHS added it is required under the federal government to set the rate it pays MCO’s such as Lakeland, but it doesn’t dictate how much each long-term care facility is paid.

For several Northeast Wisconsin counties, the state’s formula for 2021 has led to lower rates for MCO’s.

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