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How Are CDPAP Personal Assistants Different from Home Health Aides (HHAs)/Personal Care Aides (PCAs)?

If the time comes when an older person needs home health care assistance and help with daily activities, they might be apprehensive to let a stranger into their homes. One possible solution to that is the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP), which allows close family members or friends to be caregivers and get paid for it (keep in mind that this program is exclusive to Medicaid recipients).

Naturally, there are requirements that must be met, but for those that do qualify, it can be a win-win solution for everyone. The caregiver, who might already be providing assistance, can now earn some income. And the senior can now have more choice over who will care for them.

If you think this might be a viable option for you or a loved one, continue reading to find out who is qualified, and how CDPAP “Personal Assistants” or “PA’s” are different from personal care (PCA’s) or home health aides (HHA’s).

What is CDPAP?

CDPAP is a state Medicaid program in New York that allows consumers to have someone they know provide their care, rather than having a vendor or agency select a caregiver(s) for them. In order to qualify, there are a few basic rules to keep in mind:

A spouse may not be a CDPAP “PA”. That is because spouses are “legally responsible” for each other. (The same goes for parents if their children require care, but are under 21. A parent of someone over 21 years of age may still qualify for CDPAP if all other requirements are met.)

That being said, pretty much anyone else might be able to be a CDPAP “PA”, including the children of senior parents, siblings, and friends. The exception to this is if you are the person’s “designated representative.” In other words, if the person is not of sound mind to make their own decisions and direct their own care, the person who represents them cannot also be the CDPAP “PA”.

Other qualifications: The person must be eligible for Medicaid, as well as any of the following — personal care, certified home health care, or private duty nursing. Lastly, the person must be medically qualified; this is determined by a physician along with an assessment completed by a Registered Nurse.

To be fully processed and approved for CDPAP service, Health Plans will require the submission of a CDPAP application, a “MD Order” (which is completed by a physician), and a couple other forms specific to their Plan. Lastly a nursing assessment is completed.  In addition to determining eligibility the various steps help to determine the amount of service Medicaid is willing to authorize and whether a CDPAP “PA” can provide the appropriate level of care.

CDPAP Personal Assistants Versus Personal Care Aides

The major difference between these two types of caregivers is that CDPAP personal assistants are allowed to perform skilled tasks (which includes some health care/nursing duties), whereas personal care aides may only perform non-skilled tasks like cooking, cleaning, and assisting with activities of daily living.

In other words, a CDPAP personal assistant can really do the job of both the personal care aide and a home health care attendant, as well as some nursing tasks. These skilled care activities may include things like:

  • Tracheostomy care, including suctioning
  • Oxygen administration
  • Medication administration
  • Medicine injections (such as insulin)
  • Checking vital signs, such as pulse, temperature, respiratory rate, and blood pressure
  • Topical treatments
  • Setting up and using medical equipment like ventilators
  • Assisting with tube feeding, including changing and irrigating G-tubes
  • Sterile wound dressing of injuries
  • Monitoring complex diets

Getting Started and Getting Compensated

Unlike some other home care providers, CDPAP caregivers are not required to earn a license or certification. There is also no training – the patient or “Consumer” is responsible to teach the CDPAP personal assistant how to administer the required care. However, they will have to complete the same health tests, immunizations and examinations as a home health aide does.

As for where the paycheck comes from, CDPAP PA’s are considered independent contractors, but they will work with a “fiscal intermediary,” usually a licensed home care services agency. This entity processes the paychecks. As for pay rate, CDPAP aides get paid hourly. The number of hours approved will vary based on what’s recommended in the CDPAP Plan of Care document that is prepared after the RN assessment.

If you or another family member or friend are already performing many of these tasks without monetary compensation, and via a relatively simple process you may be able to be compensated for your work and time, why not?

Having someone become a CDPAP aide can prove to be a better fit than hiring an outside personal care aide for many families. If you think you or a loved one meets the eligibility requirements, going this route can be beneficial for all involved.

To find out more and get started with the application process, contact a Special Touch CDPAP Care Representative today.