Home care provider to close
701 people to lose jobs when GeminiCares closes its doors


April 8, 2015

A Slinger-based company will cease operations May 31, putting 701 employees out of work.

GeminiCares, which provides supportive home care, personal care and respite care services to thousands of elderly and disabled people throughout the state, has 11 offices, including one in West Bend.

In a notice Monday to the Department of Workforce Development, president and owner Kathy Rublee explained how the company will wind down operations.

“This will result in the permanent elimination of 693 employees with an anticipated end date of May 31. Three positions will be eliminated June 30, four will be eliminated July 31 and one worker will see reduced hours and their end date will occur once all company administrative needs have been fulfilled,” Rublee wrote.

Rublee said in a news release the decision to close the company was made after careful and thorough deliberation.

“The state has long understood the difficulties in funding long-term care for the elderly and disabled and has been very cognizant of the financial toll that increased costs and increased numbers of those in need have presented,” Rublee said. “The state has attempted to address these issues. Their responses have put financial strains on entities which are involved in this system, managed care organizations, county agencies and provider agencies.”

She said plans are underway to move clients to new care providers.

“Our private-pay clients will be transitioned to another agency in order to ensure their continued quality care,” Rublee said. “We’re also working with managed care organizations and county agencies to ensure all publicly funded client care (such as Medicare) is transitioned to other agencies so care is not disrupted.”

Company controller Gayle Petrilli said 11 people are employed at the Slinger office, none of whom are caregivers.

“There are three company employees at West Bend and 98 caregivers work from there,” Petrilli said.

Workforce Development Rapid Response coordinator Bill Zillmer said GeminiCares workers who do not find jobs will receive assistance from his department and other agencies.

“We’ve talked with company officials and we’re working to assist those employees,” Zillmer said.

Rublee said while the number of jobs lost looks substantial, a majority of the employees will be hired by other agencies as their clients are transitioned to the other agencies.

“About 50 supervisory and administrative staff throughout Wisconsin will face a more difficult job search,” Rublee said.

Rublee said the uncertainty of the long-term care system due to changes proposed by Gov. Scott Walker weighed heavily into the decision to cease operations.

“Walker has a large task before him as he attempts to address the significant cost pressures of long-term care while also attempting to maintain quality care,” Rublee said.

According to the company’s website, GeminiCares was founded in 1981. It has partnered with county agencies and care management organizations to serve the supportive home care, personal care and respite needs of its clients.

Besides West Bend and Slinger, GeminiCares’ other locations and the number of employees at each are: Stevens Point, 92; Marinette, 14; Hayward, 87; Neillsville, 33; Adams, 47; Whitehall, 89; Eau Claire, 83; Reedsburg, 51 and La Crosse, 102.