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Family Care transition underway

Community Care of Central Wisconsin is preparing to take over long-term care in 11 counties in northern Wisconsin starting Jan. 1.

Headquartered in Stevens Point, Wis., the organization manages long-term care services for about 3,400 members in Marathon, Portage, Wood, Lincoln and Langlade counties in north central Wisconsin. It has been in operation since 2008 and will begin providing those services Jan. 1 for seniors and people with developmental or physical disabilities in Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer and Washburn counties.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, which oversees the Family Care Program, selected the organization through a competitive bidding process in August based on its financial portrait, communication with members and guardians, and customer satisfaction.

NorthernBridges manages Family Care currently.

"The transition is on track at this point," said Jim Canales, chief executive officer of Community Care of Wisconsin.

To lead the transition, Community Care of Central Wisconsin hired Kris Kubnick as director of operations, Janna Duffy, assistant director of operations, and Krista Love, provider network director. More than 150 additional staff including 113 who work for NorthernBridges, have been hired to serve the 11-county area of northern Wisconsin.

Community Care of Central Wisconsin also announced it intends to develop offices in each of the eight cities where NorthernBridges maintains office sites including Ashland, Centuria, Hayward, Ladysmith, Park Falls, Rice Lake, Spooner and Superior. Final office lease arrangements are in the works in anticipation of the Jan. 1 start date.

Offices in Spooner, Centuria and Ashland will remain where they are now under new lease agreements, Canales said. Offices in the other communities will move and be smaller than they are now. Canales said they will still be available if members or guardians want to come in, but the organization's goal is to have staff out where members are to serve their needs.

"Benefits will be the same or similar to those people are receiving through NorthernBridges," Canales said. However, the philosophy of how they are delivered will change to reflect Community Care's trademarked model, which focuses on the strength of members rather than deficits and works help people with employment, self-directed care, and connecting with the community where they live.

The Community Care board, which oversees the managed care organization will also change in April. While the board consists of two members from each of the organization's original service counties and one at-large member, only one member will represent those counties and five members will be selected from the 11 counties in northwest Wisconsin to represent this region.

Canales said while the board was under no obligation to change its makeup, the board felt it was important to have representation from the northwest region.

The Family Care Program provides support and long-term care services to elders and adults with physical or developmental disabilities that meet functional and financial eligibility criteria. Aging and Disability Resource Center staff determines eligibility.

An 11-member panel made up of members from the 11 county region will also meet quarterly for two years to provide CCCW with feedback on the transition, Canales said.

For information about Community Care of Central Wisconsin, visit or contact Kris Kubnick at 715-301-1889.

For more information about the Family Care Program, contact your local Aging and Disability Resource Center or visit

In Douglas County, the Aging and Disability Resource Center is available at 715-395-1234 and has offices on the third floor of the Government Center, 1316 N. 14th St, Superior.