Story of an Elder Couple, Both Disabled

A Story from the Wisconsin Partnership Program

Synopsis of Work: The Medicare/Medicaid Integration Program (MMIP) (1997 to 2006) was a state demonstration program that tested the operation and design of delivery systems that integrate long-term and acute care services under combined Medicare and Medicaid capitation payments for elderly patients.

Story Told: For Richard and Bev, married 57 years, the task of raising hundreds of foster children over a lifetime was easy compared to dealing with the health problems they faced as they grew older.

Richard has emphysema, and needs supplemental oxygen to breath. Bev's arthritis, which she's had since she was seven, has made it hard for her to get around. And she, too, has emphysema.

In fact, the couple had used up all of their savings paying their medical bills. Bev stopped taking the medicines she needs because she couldn't afford them anymore.

Then a representative at the county's Department of Aging suggested that Richard and Bev contact Community Health Partnership. It's one of four community-based organizations participating in the Wisconsin Partnership Program, which helps elders with health problems remain in their home.

They enrolled. "It was the best move we ever made," said Richard.

Without the Community Health Partnership, Bev says, she and Richard might have to live in a nursing home. Bev knows that her arthritis will get worse, but she doesn't worry about it as much as she used to.

"I'm going to be able to do less and less, but I know the help will be there," she says. "We are secure in our home. Community Health Partnership has become a part of our family."