Between the two of them, Jim and Claudia Carlisle have utilized personal care assistants for over forty years. And just like everyone else using PCAs, they have experienced it all: the good, the bad and the excellent. Through their experiences, they have come to know firsthand the difficulties in finding and retaining high quality PCAs.
“All consumers needing PCA services should be able to find the quality of help needed to stay at home and remain active and contributing members of the workforce and the communities in which they live,” says Jim. So they began brainstorming, and along with one of their excellent PCAs, the vision for People Enhancing People (PEP) was born. All they needed then was money to make PEP a reality.
Timing is Everything
Research conducted as part of President Bush’s New Freedom Initiative confirmed what the Carlisles already knew: The struggle to find and retain high quality PCAs is one of the key barriers to successfully maintaining quality of life in our communities.
As a result, states were given—and PEP was awarded—grant funding to improve personal assistance services that are consumer-directed. Since then, PEP has been working diligently, and on July 1, 2003, will be officially open for business.
PEP is a PCA Choice provider—plus a whole lot more. In addition to the standard services provided by typical PCA Choice providers, PEP plans to deliver solutions to the most common obstacles standing in the way of a consumer’s success:
Recruitment Assistance: Through outreach activities, PEP will generate interest in PCA employment and provide consumers with prescreened candidates to augment their own recruitment efforts.
Backup Support: PEP plans on cultivating a pool of PCAs that will be available for backup in the event a PCA cannot work as scheduled.
Employment Support: PEP will help consumers be more effective managers through training programs such as interviewing techniques and employee/employer relations. PEP will also have programs for PCAs, to help ensure a successful employment relationship is achieved by all.
Scholarships: As more people understand how people with disabilities live, work and play, the eventual results will be more accessible housing, less discriminatory hiring and wider community socializing. For PCAs pursuing a higher education, PEP wishes to invest in their future, for this population will certainly help integrate the disability community into the world at large.
PCA Employment Benefits: PEP hopes to offer a basic benefits package to make employment as a PCA a more stable job choice.
Through these enhanced service offerings, PEP aims to create an environment where the consumer can experience the good, the great and the excellent in PCA services. Though initially focused on services for persons with physical disabilities, PEP will be available to anyone receiving PCA services covered by Medicaid.
To find out more, call or e-mail PEP at 651-450-5960 or PEPeople@msn.com.
Funded by a Continuing Medicaid and Medicare Services grant through the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Disability Services Division.