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MADISON – Governor Scott Walker joined Department of Health Services Secretary Linda Seemeyer and leaders in the field of long-term care today to accept the inaugural Pacesetter Prize awarded by The SCAN Foundation. The award, which recognizes continued progress in improving the lives of older adults and younger people with disabilities, was formally presented at a ceremony which kicked off the annual Aging and Disability Network Conference in Middleton today.

“We are honored to receive this national recognition for our advancements in long-term care services for older adults and people with disabilities,” said Governor Walker. “By expanding the Family Care and IRIS programs statewide, we will eliminate waitlists and provide critical community services to those who need home care, transportation, and employment support, enabling them to live and work independently in the community.”

A national leader in long-term care, Wisconsin was selected to be the Pacesetter Prize winner for “Choice of Provider and Setting” because of its innovative practices in long-term care services, including statewide expansion of the Family Care and IRIS programs, which allow people to self-direct their care, and work and live as independently as they can. The prize was awarded based on Wisconsin’s performance on AARP’s 2017 Long-Term Services and Supports State Scorecard.

“Wisconsin’s commitment to expanding innovative programs that allow its residents to live more independently has made it a pacesetter,” said Bruce Chernof, MD, President and CEO of The SCAN Foundation. “These actions are fundamental for states to prepare, particularly for the growing population of older Americans, and we commend Wisconsin for leading the way.”

The AARP Scorecard revealed that states are making incremental improvements in long-term services and supports, but faster progress is needed to keep pace with the rapidly aging population. Adults age 65 and older are projected to almost double within the next 25 years, and 50 percent will eventually need a high level of assistance with long-term care services, including help with bathing, eating, dressing, and transportation.

In February 2018, Dane County will become the 71st county in Wisconsin to offer Family Care and IRIS programs. Once statewide implementation is complete, Wisconsin will be among only a few states with no waitlist for community-based supportive services for older adults and adults with disabilities. 

To learn more about The SCAN Foundation and Pacesetter Prize, visit http://www.thescanfoundation.org/wisconsin-wins-pacesetter-prize-choice-setting-and-provider.

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