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County opens aging, disability center

Although the office won't be moved until mid-summer, the Pierce County Board voted last week to formally establish the county's Aging and Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC).

The center, which will for now be in the Office on Aging on the street-level floor of the County Office Building, will continue its services to the elderly and will assist adult clients, elderly or not, as they explore the need for services for persons with disabilities.

Conference Rooms 1-3 on the lower level of the office building will be remodeled, and the ADRC will be moved there once that is done.

Kathy Hass, the current director of the Office on Aging, will be the program manager for the ADRC.

The change is part of a statewide plan to transfer the responsibility for providing long-term care services to non-profit agencies.

The transition began in 2006, when the county board voted to participate in managed long-term care reform and to apply for state funding for an ADRC.

The rollover of current long-term support clients will begin in July.

Ordinance amendments adopted last week designate the Human Services Board as the Aging and ADRC oversight committee, and the ADRC as the unit serving the county's elderly population.

The board also established an ADRC Governing Board with 11 members. Half or more of the members must be 60 or older. Two seats must be filled with county board members. The board must also have a member representing each of these three disability groups: developmental disability, physical disability and mental health or substance abuse.

About 170 Pierce County adults now receive long-term support services, which range from residence in group homes to help in their own homes.

About 75 adults are on the county's waiting list for services. The goal of the transition is eliminate the wait lists.

Initially, ADRC Governing Board members will be County Board Members Ron Lockwood and Jeff Holtz; James Robey, Plum City; John Howard Sr., River Falls; Charlotte Bowen, Elmwood; Eugene Kittilson, Prescott; Mary Jane Grebner, Maiden Rock; Yvonne Kulow, Ellsworth; Sue Gilbertson, Spring Valley; Tasha Schuh, Ellsworth; and Jeanette Hovel, Spring Valley.