The Messenger
A Newsletter From The Arc-Dane County
Supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 65 years

June 4, 2019
The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful flower of all. 
~Walt Disney Company, Mulan
ADRC Hearings Lacking Advocates
Approximately 60 people attended a public hearing hosted by the Dane County Adult Disability Resource Center (ADRC) on May 29th at the Alliant Energy Center. There were also more hearings with other locations on different dates. We hope we conveyed the importance of attending these hearings. It's remains critically important for parents and advocates to show up. As one parent testified, "Clearly our strength is decreasing." Being invisible doesn't serve our loved ones. The impact of cuts since the shift to Family Care and IRIS in Dane County this past year is real. There's no way to influence regaining services that have been lost unless more parents and guardians reengage at critical times. Older parents keep saying," Will the younger parents please get more involved". It is a plea.
Those organizations, parents, providers, caregivers and advocates who took the time to testify at the Madison hearing made these main points:
  • The ADRC was universally praised for their professionalism and ability to help anyone who contacts them. Despite all the frustration going around, their office is seen as a great place to come when you need to get help and learn how to navigate the adult long-term care system.
  • Reduction in transportation means individuals no longer go to church or social activities. They are becoming more isolated.
  • Wisconsin State Journal reported reduced services by 60% in reimbursement for services by a Dane County MCO. 
  • Disabled individuals are unfairly squeezed by deliberate cuts. We need a lot more transparency from the state on how rates are set for different MCOs and their providers. It is very unclear if rates take into account the real labor costs in Dane County.
  • Individuals are informed of cuts without any notification. There is no more local control. Where is the accountability for the MCOs?
  • There is tremendous fragmentation in the delivery of services.
  • MCOs need to build in flexibility and staffing for crisis. They don't have any mobile prevention resources that they can apply to a situation. For example, the lack of communication between MCOs and their providers needs to improve. They need to better engage people who are providing care to the developmentally disabled population. That is not happening in a high-quality manner.
  • Last year when these big changes were taking place in Dane County, parents and guardians were encouraged not to get brokers. This was a mistake. The case managers under Family Care/ IRIS make it very clear that they aren't brokers and their job is to make sure that services provided are within someone's budget.
  • Because the new system is so fragmented, when a parent or guardian want to get help with a problem, it is easy for someone to say: "That is not my job, it is someone else's job".  Problems don't get resolved.
  • Dane County has had a very high employment rate when compared to the rest of the state. Cuts to things like transportation may make it even more sparse, and people with disabilities in Dane County will be less involved in our community.
  • Evidence of cuts is seen by appalling figures and direct measured consequences. From January through April 2019, people with disabilities in Dane County were institutionalized on an emergency basis for 148 total nights. This number surpasses the combined totals for 2017 and 2018. These in-patient costs are expensive and greater effort to prevent emergency detention in the first place would better serve the individuals along with the budget conscious MCOs.
  • Getting reimbursed for durable medical equipment (DME) is problematic because of new red tape. Vendors who used to be able to provide simple things like a bed brace lift or a repair are no longer allowed by an MCO that says, "We have a new vendor", and the new vendors are not always qualified to problem solve. 
  • There is no way of knowing if an MCO is providing the care they agreed to, and if they are meeting the expectations of their contracts.
  • There is a real erosion of jobs, medical care, recreation time, daily living, and socialization for individuals with disabilities in Dane County. They have come to expect and enjoy a high quality of life. That is also why so many families have moved here.
If you would still like to make a comment to the ADRC, please email them at Please copy The Arc-Dane County so we can keep your comments on file. 

Let The Arc-Dane County Know What You Need

Please tell The Arc-Dane County what it would take for you to be more involved in advocacy that affects your loved one, and everyone else who cares about individuals with an intellectual disability in Dane County. Tell us what it would take to get you more involved. Contact The Arc-Dane County office at: 


Meet Your Arc-Dane County Board: Jack Yeary
Jack Yeary grew up in Glen Ellen, IL, one of seven children, including his twin sister Joy. Jack was born with microencephaly and a congenital heart defect. He hasn't let that stop him! Since graduating from the special education program at his high school in 1979, he has worked in a variety of jobs, including over 22 years as a cart associate for a grocery store. 
In 2015, Jack moved in with Lon, his big brother, his sister-in-law Julia, and their dog, Cori, after his father passed away. Jack has always lived with family. Since moving to Wisconsin, Jack was hired full-time job at Walmart as a cart associate.  
You can always start a conversation with Jack by asking him how his beloved Chicago Cubs are doing! He loves to watch sports on TV, especially baseball. Jack also loves to go fishing. He and his brother go on at least 2 special fishing trips every year. Lake Mercer for Muskie fishing over Memorial Day and to Rainey Lake, MN to catch Walleye and anything else swimming in the water. Jack also loves to go bowling and dancing. He takes excellent care of the family dog, Cori, and makes sure the bird feeders are full for the many birds in the backyard. He likes watching all the wildlife that visit the yard including the birds, squirrels, fox, and deer. Jack is excited to participate as a board member this year. 
In This Issue
Upcoming  Events

ADRC Listening Sessions

The Arc National Events
July 22 - 24, 2019
Charleston, SC

The Arc's National Convention
October 11 - 14, 2019
Washington, DC

March 23 - 25, 2020
Washington, DC 

The Arc-Dane County  Events
Arc-Dane County Halloween Dance October 27, 2019 

Save the date and start planning your costume! On October 27, The Arc-Dane County will once again be hosting its annual Halloween dance. 
Accessible Fishing Weekend July 13-14, 2019

This year's annual fishing weekend for people with disabilities is July 13 & 14, 2019 at Governor Nelson State Park on Lake Mendota in Madison, WI. This is the program's 25th year anniversary, and sure to be a huge celebration!
We still have availability for individuals with disabilities who are interested in fishing! We can take up to 100 participants. No age or ability restriction, all are welcome!  Attached here is the PDF packet to sign up. To learn more about the event agenda,  click here. 
Hope to see you there!
State and Federal  News
State News 

Wisconsin Skilled Nursing Facilities Facing Continuing Staffing Problems

Wisconsin nursing facilities are in a bad spot, with low Medicaid reimbursement levels and a shortage of nurses and care workers to work in the facilities. New data from the Center of Medicare and Medicaid services states that Wisconsin has 375 nursing facilities, 206 of them being for-profit, 120 non-profit and 49 government facilities. This data may not still be accurate due to the quickness of closings. 11 facilities have closed in the state since January 2019. 
Individuals that go to a skilled nursing facility often have ongoing medical care needs. For individuals over the age of 65, a nursing facility can be paid for my Medicare, but that only covers a portion of the stay, following that the person will only rely on Medicaid payments to the nursing facilities if they are deemed financially necessary. This comes out to a loss of over $70 a day to the facilities, per person if they are housing on Medicaid. Wisconsin skilled nursing facilities were underfunded by $324,800,000 from 2017-2018. Every single skilled nursing facility in the state faced losses due to low Medicaid reimbursement. The picture remains dire. 

Opportunity for Substantial Increase in Special Education Funding Shut Down

Last week on My 24, the GOP lead Joint Finance Committee voted down the $600 million proposition to increase funding to special education proposed by Governor Evers. The voted down proposition would have begun to address the serious gap in state funding for special education after a flat a decade of flat funding for the programs. According to the latest Marquette Poll, 73% of Wisconsinites across party lines support an increase in special education, including 62% of Republicans. 

Proposed Funding for Mental Health Services Removed From Budget

In the same motion in which the additional funding for special ed was removed, the Joint Finance Committee also voted in a large reduction on mental health services in the state. The proposal included $22 million each year for additional social workers, school psychologists, counselors and nurses in Wisconsin public schools. The motion passed reduced $22 million in additional funding each year to $3 million each year.

Have a Program Idea You Think is a Good One? Hosting or Attending an Event We Should Know About?
Thinking of a way The Arc-Dane County can better serve its members? Is your group doing something other parents and guardians should know about? Tell us! Send us a link, send us a flyer, send us the information and we'll help you get the word out to others who could benefit. Let us know at

Are You a Member Yet?
Your membership in The Arc-Dane County helps us continue to offer up to date advocacy, education, and social activities.

The Arc-Dane County | (608) 833-1199
402 Gammon Place, Suite 360 | Madison, WI 53719