Wisconsin County Mulls Senior Co-Op as Home Care Needs Grow

Tight budgets and growing demand for home care amid substantial, health care reform-induced changes to the healthcare delivery system is prompting conversation about senior co-ops in one Wisconsin County.

In Vernon County, Wisc., many budgets of agencies and services for seniors are “stretched thin” and providers are looking for ways to collaborate and share resources, says a La Cross Tribune opinion piece

“Since November 2012, representatives from a variety of area agencies and stakeholders have been studying the feasibility of forming a cooperative that would create jobs and centrally coordinate resources and agencies that provide in-home care to elderly and families with special needs populations in the Vernon County region,” says the article.

For the past 10 or so months, officials and industry stakeholders have been gathering data and information to identify gaps in services, gauge current resources, and measure the need for in-home care services. 

“The information gathered will be used to assess if our region could benefit from forming a cooperative to share services, retain a pool of quality home-care/personal-care workers, and provide shared training to home-care workers as a way to address re-admission to hospital issues, shortage of skilled workers and job retention in the home-care sector,” says the opinion piece. 

Organizations involved in the discussions include the Vernon Economic Development Association, Vernon County Unit on Aging, USDA Cooperative Development and Cooperative Development Foundation, Bethel Home and Services, Vernon Memorial Healthcare, and Vernon County Aging and Disability Resource Center, among many others. 

A consultant has been engaged to develop a report from the data that has been gathered regarding the financial viability and sustainability of creating and operating a cooperative. The report has an expected release date of Oct. 31.

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Written by Alyssa Gerace 

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