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

Lakeland Care Inc is cutting the rates it pays facilities across Northeast Wisconsin
Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 5:54 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Diane Dugan operates Curo Care LLC, a 16-bed long term care facility that houses frail adults.

“I cannot with the rate cut pay for two staff to care for the members who live in that home properly,” Dugan said.

Late last week she decided to begin closing one of her buildings after finding it’s cheaper to do that than try to absorb proposed cuts by Lakeland Care Inc, a managed care organization.

“We are putting our members at risk, we are not doing the best care that we can due to this cut,” Dugan said.

Dugan said she and several people on her staff also took a pay reduction.

“It’s very difficult to find staff for this line of work,” she said.

As Action 2 News has previously reported, Lakeland is proposing cuts set for April 1 in the payments it sends long-term care facilities. MCO’s distribute funds to these facilities for patients who are part of the state’s Medicaid “family care” program.

Initially Lakeland proposed a nine percent cut, but after a series of our reports highlighting the reduction, the MCO dropped it to between six and seven percent for some facilities, including Dugan’s which still says that won’t help.

“Our intention is to be reaching out to all providers to have conversations with them,” Lakeland Care Chief Executive Officer Sarah Muhlbauer said.

Lakeland sent letters to providers announcing an update to its proposed cuts. You can read the full letter below.

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.

Several Northeast Wisconsin long-term care facilities are considering evicting residents enrolled with Lakeland Care.

Margaret Zehren Moores and Maria Zehren have their brother staying at Dugan’s facility, and they expressed over the detriment removing a resident can cause on families.

“It has a very very devastating impact to people when all of a sudden a home that they have lived in, and it’s truly a home...and all of a sudden it’s taken away from you,” Moores said.

Her brother has been living at Curo Care for nearly 10 years.

Zehren is a former board member of Brown County Public Health and remembers when the state began requiring counties to use managed care organizations to distribute Medicaid funds. Prior to that, counties dealt with distributing payments to long-term care facilities.

“I thought that they were trying to deliver more services for a lot less money. It didn’t seem to equal out economically,” Zehren said.

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