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The Dane County Difference

Author: John O'Brien

Dane County in the State of Wisconsin, USA has been a beacon of social innovation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for decades. When others were merely beginning to close long-stay hospitals community leaders in Dane County pioneered self-direction, supported living, supported employment and person-centred planning. Sadly, many of the achievements in Dane County appear now to be under threat. 

This paper is a record of a celebration of social innovation at the County level. The celebration and the paper are elements of a strategy to preserve existing capacities in the face of reforms even more threatening than Wisconsin’s current managed care arrangements. The state government is proposing to privatise administration of all long term support in the hands of large insurance carriers that will assume risk for both health care and long term care. Political efforts by disability and provider groups have had little success beyond achieving a few months delay for planning with consultation.

The privatisation of managed care in Dane County now seems inevitable. It is to be hoped that the private corporations who will be taking control of the destinies of Dane County's citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities might seek to sustain these positive social innovations.


The publisher is John O'Brien.

The Dane County Difference © John O'Brien 2015.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

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