“My agency wants to send someone over at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night to put me to bed. But, I don’t want to go to bed at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night.”
“Nothing else matters if I don’t have someone to come and get me out of bed in the morning.”
“I want access to peer support and mentoring, not just professional advice.”
These quotes from persons with disabilities indicate some of the problems with traditional agency-provided personal care assistance (PCA). Consumers have also identified other issues, including the shortage of workers, low wages, and a lack of information about other service options. The Department of Human Services has received a grant from the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to fund consumer-directed PCA demonstration projects. Consumer-directed PCA increases the control the user has in selecting, supervising, managing, scheduling, and paying direct care workers.
The federal grant will sponsor contracts of up to $100,000 over two years to develop at least three demonstration projects in Minnesota. In addition to increasing consumer control, the demonstration projects will address the shortage of personal care assistance workers and low wages. The Department of Human Services is encouraging agencies and organizations serving under-represented populations to apply. The grants will be administered by Community Quality Initiatives, Continuing Care for Persons with Disabilities. The Request for Proposals (RFP) summary has been published in the state register.
Participants in the three Consumer Initiated Partnership and Support (CIPS) networks will build opportunities for consumers to work in a co-op model to access their natural support systems, such as family, friends, and neighbors. The CIPS networks may also choose to explore options for cooperative training, support, respite, service management, and group insurance policies. Community Quality Initiatives staff will develop training curriculum for consumer-directed services, as well as provide PCA policy and procedures for CIPS networks. Consumers will provide feedback so the materials can be improved and used statewide.
In addition there will be a Personal Care Assistance Project Design Team, with representatives from both the metro area and greater Minnesota, who will provide project oversight. Members of this team include: Jeff Bangsberg, Minnesota HomeCare Association; LeAnne Dahl, PCA consumer; Sandra Foy, Ramsey County Social Services Developmental Disabilities unit; Gordon Grimm, parent of a PCA consumer; Eva Hansen, Metropolitan Center for Independent Living; Ann Kranz, University of Minnesota School of Social Work and PCA consumer; and Melvin Reinke, direct care worker.
For more information on the grant project or to receive the RFP, contact Ann Roscoe, Project Team Leader, Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program; 651-634-2282 (V), 651-585-1808 (Fax), 711 (MN Relay Service); or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linda Wolford and Ann Roscoe are affiliated with Community Quality Initiatives, Minnesota Department of Human Services.