- Associated Press - Thursday, July 28, 2016

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin’s top health officials says the state’s long-term care programs for the elderly and disabled will be available statewide by early 2018.

The programs Family Care and IRIS, which stands for Include, Respect I Self-Direct, are designed to keep 55,000 elderly and disabled people out of nursing homes by offering care in their own homes. Wisconsin Department of Health Services Interim Secretary Tom Engels announced Thursday the programs would expand to the final seven of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.

The expansion follows scrapped plans from earlier this year that would have shifted coverage from non-profit providers to for-profit insurance companies. The state shelved that transition in early June.

Gov. Scott Walker announced his goal of expanding the long-term care programs across the state in 2015.

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