WI Department of Health Services

~Jenna Jansen

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Overview of Agency

The Department of Health Services works towards helping individuals with disabilities and the elderly.

Details of Agency

History and Funding of Agency

Janet, the interviewee, explained going back in time there has always been some sort of health services around throughout the United States. Specifically to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has been around for about 100 years. Within the Wisconsin Department of Health Services there are many different specific subdivisions and bureaus. Janet explained that each of these departments have different funding but on average the funding will be 60% Federal Dollars and the other 40% will come from State Taxes.

Services the Agency Provides

The Department provides many different services for the individuals as well as the family. This department is specifically focused on Medicare needs of the individual and helping filling out the waivers that are included with receiving this service. As well as in charge of incident reports that may be filed with different abuse or problematic situations. Janet explained that it is the Department’s job to look at what the individual needs and what codes need to be established. As well as looking at the different policies of health and wealth needs that are appropriate for the individual and family. The agency also provides different services with the transition process and making it as successful for the individual as possible. One way this is done is providing the individual with a service coordinator that will help the individual as soon as possible and stay with the individual for the time necessary, and helps coordinate what the child needs throughout the years.

Who is Eligible and How to Access Services?

The process for an individual to be eligible and access different services in the Wisconsin Department of Health Services seemed to be a very complicated and long process. One major thing that surprised me was that once an individual turns the age of 18, s/he needs to be reevaluated for long-term services. If the child gets accepted through Medicare there will be different short-term and long-term visions. The reason this is Janet clarified is because individuals under the age of 18 are considered to have different needs for living than adults. For example children in school are going to have different means of living and succeeding than individuals who are out of school and living on their own. Starting with children less than 18 go through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Children’s Bureau. This Department will evaluate if the child meets the eligibility requirements for Medicare. To meet the requirements it needs to be a disability that will impact the child’s life, whether the disability was due to injury or since birth. This disability can be an emotion, learning, or cognitive disability. If a child is eligible for services the specific county of living will help with services and finances with the family. In the birth to three services there is a lot of federal funding to help perform interventions for these children, hoping to have the child make better decisions. In the early childhood stages the schools will help provide services as well as clinic (therapies) using Medicare. During the transition process, the children get more involved and more help is provided to support them and transitioning them into jobs. For the long-term individuals the Department will help set up a service/health coordinator and case manager. For the adult to be eligible to receive services s/he needs to meet nursing home level of care. This is a much higher standard based on the requirements if the individual can successful live and take care of them without assistance.

How the Agency is Evaluated?

The specific division constantly writing reports evaluates the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and documenting data, which is then sent to the administrative office; from this office the documents are sent to the Secretary who answers to the Governor and Legislators. During any point of time Legislators or the Governor can request for information. The taxpayers of Wisconsin also technically evaluate the agency. These taxpayers can make complaints, which all of these needs to be documented and filed.

Agency's Interaction with Schools, Parents, and Youth

I incorporated the three individual groups together since the Department helps with all of these groups. The work that is done is intertwined connecting and supporting all three groups. The agency does a lot of different work not only with the schools but also within the schools. The Department doesn’t just serve one age group; if an individual has a disability the Department could serve the individual their whole life span. Due to this the Department would be working with the individual with the student’s schooling as soon as a head start program to the transition period of post-secondary education or the job force. The Department of Health Services is also in charge of the service coordinators. These coordinators are connected with the student’s IEP, and have a very close connection with not only the student but also the parent or guardians. Janet explained the relationship with these coordinators could have a closer connection with the family than the teachers. Also the Department runs an employment team. This team is in charge of helping the individual with disabilities to obtain and maintain a job. The employment team is also a support system for the individual and the family to help with any support that may be needed throughout this transition and time.

Agency's Link to the IEP/ Transition Process

In correlation to the IEP and transition process the Wisconsin Department of Health Services plays a big role. For one the Department provides the service coordinators; these coordinators are involved in every individual’s life if s/he is diagnosed with a disability; as well as involved in every IEP and meetings. As well as for the transition process the Department provides different groups to help the individual find a career or go get a secondary education. For example, the employment team and the academic career planning team.