APPROVAL ON PROPOSED CHANGES DELAYED
Metro’s oversight committee, the Madison Transit and Parking Commission (TPC), has not yet made a decision on proposed changes to paratransit service.
Commissioners have decided to make a final decision no later than their May meeting, however they may act sooner.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Due to the implementation of Family Care in Dane County, approximately $3.9 million in federal funding that normally was passed through from Dane County to Metro Transit for paratransit services is no longer available in this manner.
Metro and Dane County have partnered with this funding for the last 20 years to provide a premium level of paratransit service that is above and beyond what is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
With continued reductions in federal and state funding, Metro is not able to absorb this kind of revenue loss and continue to provide the same level of service.
No, the funding is not gone. Rather than being distributed directly
to Metro, it is being allocated in a different way.
The State of Wisconsin is preparing for the implementation of Family Care, IRIS, and Family Care Partnership programs in Dane County and utilizing Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to directly administer service and funds for Family Care members.
These MCOs will make decisions on how to best and most efficiently utilize funding to provide personal services and transportation options to their clients.
Family Care is a program that has been in place in Wisconsin for nearly 20 years. The program is aimed at addressing the long-term care needs of seniors and adults with disabilities within their homes or community settings rather than costlier nursing homes.
Family Care, a national model in long-term care, was established in Wisconsin in 1998. By 2010, the program served nearly 29,000 members in 53 counties.
The quick growth and popularity of the program led to a Legislative Audit Bureau review of cost-effectiveness and efficiencies, and an enrollment cap.
In July of 2016, DHS announced plans to expand Family Care statewide and eliminate the wait list for those in need of these services in the remaining seven counties.
Over time, Family Care has expanded to more counties throughout Wisconsin. Dane County is one of the few remaining counties without Family Care.*
*Source: Wisconsin Department of Human Services Website
Metro does not know how MCOs will spend this money. Staff have started meeting with MCO representatives to discuss transportation issues and funding. It’s anticipated that Metro will be utilized to provide some transportation services to MCO clients. However, this will not account for the same amount of revenue/funding Metro has received in the past.
Unfortunately, Metro cannot predict or control the pace or final outcome of these conversations. The only thing Metro can control is the level of its paratransit service offered and the price of its fares.
Metro staff will work with MCOs to help ensure that riders have smooth transitions to any new transportation arrangement.
In the Fall of 2016, Metro’s oversight committee, the Madison Transit and Parking Commission (TPC), created an Ad Hoc Metro Paratransit Medicaid Waiver Funding and Policy Review Committee to examine the impacts of this funding shift due to Family Care.
This committee was made up of TPC members, city alders, Metro staff, and paratransit riders.
Meeting regularly for the past year, this committee was charged with formulating policy recommendations as to the level of paratransit services Metro would be able to provide and the fare it would need to charge after this anticipated loss of funding.
The committee reviewed current and ADA required service levels, identified Metro services that exceeded ADA minimums, developed likely scenarios of how the MCOs might interact with Metro, and identified possible financial and ridership impact scenarios.
Through the process, this committee created a toolbox of possible fare and service change options that Metro could utilize to address the impact of the $3.9 million reduction in funding.
The committee forwarded its recommendations to the TPC on Wednesday, July 12. The TPC approved Metro using these ideas in developing its 2018 operating budget.
Read the committee's full report and detailed recommendations:.
Metro’s annual paratransit operating budget is approximately $9.4 million.
Metro Transit’s overall annual operating budget is approximately $56 million.
Considering more than $50 million in infrastructure needs to address overcrowding and other fixed-route operational issues, the expected reduction in paratransit funding is too much for Metro to absorb.
Metro only maintains a reserve level of $2 million, and it is ultimately the Madison Common Council’s decision on how this is used.
No. Metro is not proposing any cuts to fixed-route service. Staff believe the proposed paratransit service changes are the most appropriate way
to address Family Care implementation.
No. Grants are not typically used for ongoing operating budget issues.
They are more usually used for one-time capital purchases.
Metro staff have been working on this issue for several years and are very aware of the challenges involved with these decisions and the individuals they affect.
Policymakers, advisors, and staff have put their best efforts forward to find solutions to this funding reduction.
This proposal reflects what was determined to be the best options available to address this complicated and sensitive issue.
Clients in this program should contact the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Dane County with any questions about the transition to Family Care, IRIS and Family Care Partnership programs in 2018.
Please DO NOT contact ADRC to give feedback on the public hearing. Information for providing feedback is available here.
You can still utilize Metro services as you’ve done in the past.
However, Metro’s service is expected to operate on a more basic ADA level as a result of this change in funding.
These are complex changes that can’t be done overnight. Staff have looked at how other agencies have implemented these changes and plan to roll these changes out gradually throughout the year in 2018.
This isn’t anyone’s fault. This resulted from modifications on a state level to how funding is allocated. These modifications were made a number of years ago and are now finally being implemented in Dane County.
Metro staff are doing their best to help manage this change.
Metro is still developing how changes will be rolled out. Riders are encouraged to contact the (ADRC) of Dane County with any questions about their ability to enter its programs.
Elimination of “leave attended” service and the transition to “curb-to-curb” service will not be implemented until June of next year.
Metro riders will be contacted with further details as they become available.
Rides will be provided as according to ADA requirements. Destinations within ¾ mile of Metro’s core fixed-route service area will continue to be eligible for paratransit service.
No. Eligibility will continue to be based on whether a disability prevents the use of Metro’s fixed-route service. The process of determining eligibility will not be changed.
If you are not able to utilize Metro’s proposed level of paratransit service, staff encourage you to contact the ADRC of Dane County to see if you’re eligible to enter one of their programs that might better meet your needs.
If you’ve been a Dane County Medicaid waiver client, you will be able to discuss transportation options during your Enrollment Choice Counseling with the ADRC. These meetings are scheduled to begin in October.
The changes described in this document will apply to all paratransit rides.
You can continue to book rides directly with Metro. However, Metro’s fare and service levels will apply.
The expected reduction in funding accounts for 41% of Metro’s total paratransit budget. Adjustments need to be made to offset this large anticipated decrease in revenue.
The ADA allows transit systems to maintain a paratransit fare that is twice as much as its fixed-route fare. Metro’s fixed-route adult fare is $2.00.
The ADA allows for personal care attendants (PCAs) to ride for free.
A PCA is defined as someone designated or employed specifically to help an eligible individual meet their personal needs. Metro staff will work with riders to determine which individuals are eligible PCAs.
Yes, you still may bring a companion on your ride. If your companion is not your PCA, they will be charged the $4.00 fare.
Metro has been reviewing how other transit systems have handled the implementation of Family Care and has found that a cash-only system is the best way to handle this service transition.
It has been Metro’s experience, as well as other transit systems across the state, that the availability of convenience tickets and passes provide a disincentive for human service agencies to cost share with Metro and even allows for the ability to avoid cost sharing.
Metro staff have concerns about not having convenience tickets available. However, it is felt that this is something that needs to be done in order to best manage this major shift in business operations.
This issue will be closely monitored during the transition process and may be revisited at a later date.
Metro encourages your organization to contact Metro Transit for details on becoming a partner agency. The use of agency tickets may be an option once an agency agreement is in place.
Eliminating tickets self-identifies individuals that may need a higher form of specialized transportation that Metro is no longer able to provide.
Riders that may need this higher level of service are encouraged to work with their MCO to identify who the most appropriate service provider might be that can best meet their needs.
Metro’s curb-to-curb service will be rolled out during the course of 2018.
A Metro staff person will evaluate each currently active rider to see if there is a medical or other specialized need for door-to-door service.
Door-to-door service will continue to be provided to those that have been evaluated as requiring this type of service.
After the door-to-door rider evaluations have been completed, Metro will give notice to all of its passengers as to the official start date of curb-to-curb service.
In the event there is an unsafe or other out-of-the-ordinary situation, drivers will have the discretion to assist the passenger to a safe or appropriate location as the situation warrants.
Once the situation has been resolved, Metro staff will follow up with the passenger and/or caregiver to discuss the correct procedures for using curb-to-curb service.
A PCA may accompany a paratransit eligible rider at no additional fare.
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