Tentative NCHC agreement REACHED

A new tentative agreement between Langlade, Lincoln and Marathon Counties would create a powerful new committee to oversee North Central Health Care, according to the draft agreement.

The agreement is a compromise to maintain NCHC, which provides state-mandated health services for all three counties. Ratification is expected later this month.

Amid concerns that NCHC wasn’t responding to county requests and acting too autonomously, Marathon County leaders early in the year looked at withdrawing from the agreement and creating in its stead an entirely new county-run health and human services department. After a nearly a year of turmoil, county leaders agreed to draft a new agreement.

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The proposed 5-year plan calls for a new Retained County Authority committee, with two members from Marathon County and one each from Lincoln and Langlade counties. The RCA committee would help recommend a CEO candidate for NCHC, review the agency’s budget, choose a firm to perform an annual audit of NCHC, create performance expectations, and receive regular reports.

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The Health and Human Services committee on Monday recommended the agreement to the county board. Committee member Bill Miller thought the agreement set a path for deadlock between Marathon County and Lincoln and Langlade counties. Others said the point is for all three counties to work together, not simply outvote each other.

“This isn’t the Packers versus the Vikings,” committee member Katie Rosenberg said. “We’re in this together.”