To the Editor:
Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget reduces money for Portage County’s Aging and Disability Recourse Center (ADRC) located in the Lincoln Center.
The budget proposal would eliminate local governing boards and affect transparency and accountability, and would change all local long-term care services to a third-party multi-state insurance company contracted to service managing Portage Co. residents.
We assume that the governor feels that the change will either improve the ADRC or make it less expensive. However, we believe this is not the case. The ADRC has quality staff and uses 600-plus volunteers to provide valuable programs and services. We fail to understand how a third party contractor located somewhere other than portage Co. would be more cost effective.
In 2014, the ADRC information and assistance specialists served 995 citizens with 5,392 activities, and the disability benefit specialists served 183 citizens, saving them $2,574,722. Elder benefits specialists served 841 citizens, saving them $4,246,382. The citizens can then spend their saved money in our community.
The state’s $494,307 contribution in 2014 also helped pay for nine positions and their benefits at Lincoln Center. The money the state spends on these programs enables additional federal funds to be added.
The ADRC programs change as the needs and desires of participants change. Many of the programs help older people stay longer in their homes instead of paying for nursing home care. The disabled are helped to find and hold jobs, pay income taxes and live more independently.
We feel the loss of our ADRC’s ability to negotiate more desirable and cost-effective care of these individuals, which took years to establish, being instantly replaced by a large contractor would be a shame. Putting individuals back in large institutions would be expensive and disappointing.
If you agree with the Lincoln Center Senior Center Advisory Council, we urge you to contact your lawmakers to oppose this plan.