Joint Finance Committee Public Hearing Testimony – Becky Dahl

Becky Dahl Testified at the Joint Finance Committee Public Hearing in Reedsburg last Thursday. The Following is her testimony:
My name is Becky Dahl, Regional Manager for Aging and Disability Resource Center of Eagle Country serving Crawford, Juneau, Richland and Sauk. First, I would like to express my appreciation and positive experience at the capital this week. I had the privilege of having one on one conversation with 16 senators and representatives to discuss the impact of the proposed governor’s budget as it relates to ADRCs. Security and information staff were friendly and helpful. Each visit, I was greeted warmly by staff and appointments were on time. I felt my message was heard, thoughtful questions were asked, and a genuine interest in understanding how the proposed budget if passed as it is written, will impact our elders, persons with disabilities, caregivers and our communities. I have told stories of my experience and how proud I am of our capital.
The proposed budget if passed will lose the essence of this national award winning program that is imbedded into our communities. During my visits at the capital, many of the staff and/or legislators had personal stories of visiting the ADRC in their community. They appreciated a real person answered the phone. Or others just walked in and found the atmosphere warm and welcoming. We talked about staff offering home visits and calling to follow-up I heard comments “the system is complicated; just tell me my next steps” or “I had no idea the community services available and they helped me narrow down the options”. It was interesting to me that legislators and/or staff who had experience or well informed about ADRC services smiled when they described their experience or how important they see the program for their constituents. We strive for all of our customers to have positive experiences at the ADRC. It appears we do in that, Dr. Amy Flowers Analytical Insights research shows customers are very satisfied with our services and 94% say they would tell someone else about us.
Over the last couple of weeks, I personally found this a very emotional time. I kept asking myself why? It is about the commitment and passion we have for our communities. With over 30 years working in various aspects of the long term care system, I have many stories of being a part of people’s lives where they are faced with overwhelming challenges. It has been an honor and privilege to serve my community. ADRCs are now in every county in the state. Our staff and board members are committed to providing quality services to everyone who comes through our doors because they are our neighbors. I ask that you think about what will be lost if the budget is passed as written and Department of Health Services chooses to contract out the ADRC services to a private for profit entity that is managed and operated outside of our communities, possibly outside of our state? Will our citizens be calling an 800 number where someone provides information based on what their computer screens says? Will they take the time to really listen to caregivers who are stressed? Will they travel to the most rural parts of our communities to make a home visit not just once but maybe more to ensure the persons needs are being meet and services connected? Our locally operated and locally governed ADRCs do, because we are committed and passionate about supporting the people who live in our communities.
Respectfully Submitted,
Becky Dahl, Certified Social Worker

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