Facts About PCA Services
The State of Minnesota has several programs designed to help older adults and individuals living with a disability remain in their community rather than relocating to a facility. The Personal Care Assistance (PCA) Program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, is one such platform. Established in 1978, the PCA Program began after Minnesota amended the state’s Medical Assistance Program to include personal home assistance.
PCA Services are a form of home care assistance that supports individuals living in Minnesota with non-medical, health-related needs and daily activities. The goal of PCA services, as with other homecare options, is to help individuals live independently in their homes and community, as opposed to a facility.
Available to individuals of all ages with special healthcare needs, PCA services are a paid benefit under the Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare Program and may be provided through the fee-for-service program; Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver programs; or through prepaid health plans (UCare, Etc.).
How PCA Services Help Loved Ones
When you choose PCA services to support your lifestyle or that of a loved one, you can expect the following homecare services:
- Assistance with performing daily activities, including eating, toileting, grooming, dressing, bathing, transferring, mobility, and positioning
- Assistance with performing instrumental daily tasks, including meal planning and preparation, managing money, shopping for essential items, performing essential household chores, communicating by telephone and other media, and getting around and participating in the community
- Assistance with performing health-related functions, including range of motion exercises, seizure intervention, or ventilator suctioning
- Assistance with performing redirection and intervention for behavior, including observation and monitoring
What are My Home Care Options Under the PCA Program?
- Traditional PCA Option (PCPO): Under this program, clients receiving PCA services obtain a personal care aide through a PCA agency, like Best Care, that hires, trains, pays, and schedules the hours for care.
To allow more flexibility and meet the changing and varying needs of individuals who receive care, Minnesota’s PCA program also allows for home care services to be provided through other delivery models described below:
- PCA Choice Option: In the PCA Choice program, individuals in need of homecare services are able to independently hire and train a PCA to provide care. The PCA Choice option gives the client a greater level of responsibility in managing their care, and the PCA agency handles employment and management-related functions. In Minnesota’s PCA Choice program, the agency is the employer of record for the PCAs.
- Shared Care Option: The Shared Care Option allows one PCA worker to help two or three individuals living in the same setting.
- Flexible Use Option: Under the Flexible Use Option, clients can use their approved PCA hours flexibly within a service authorization period to accommodate their varying needs and schedules.
Who is Eligible for PCA Services?
To be eligible to receive PCA Services, you must:
- Live in the state of Minnesota
- Be eligible to receive medical assistance or MinnesotaCare (i.e. pregnant women and children under 21 years of age)
- Be able to make decisions about your care or have someone who can make decisions for you
- Be able to meet with a Public Health Nurse (PHN) from your county to perform a required PCA Assessment
- Be in need of “constant supervision” or “hands-on assistance” to complete at least one Activity of Daily Living (ADL) or have Level 1 Behavior
What’s a PCA Assessment?
At a PCA Assessment, a Public Health Nurse (PHN) will ask you questions and evaluate your needs to determine your eligibility for PCA services. As mentioned above, in order to qualify for services, you need to be “dependent” in at least one ADL or have Level 1 behavior. If you need assistance with several ADLs, you will get more help than if you require assistance with one or two ADLs.
If you require assistance with critical ADLs (e.g. eating, transfers, mobility, and toileting), you’ll receive more help than if you need assistance with Non-Critical ADLs (e.g. grooming, dressing, bathing, positioning).
Can I Choose My PCA?
In Minnesota, you have the option of choosing your own caregiver, which may include a friend or family member. If you would like to hire a friend or family member to be your PCA, trust Best Care to help you navigate through the process.
How Do I Get Started?
Getting PCA services started is simple! Contact Best Care, so we can determine your program eligibility and help you evaluate your homecare options. We’ll provide you the phone number to request a PCA assessment and once it’s determined that you meet all homecare requirements, we’ll train and hire the caregiver of your choice.