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 about letting a stranger into their homes.

Woman Concerned about family

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).

One possible solution 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, requirements must be met, but for those who qualify, it can be a win-win solution for everyone. The caregiver, who might already be assisting, can now earn some income. And the seniors 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 “PAs” are different from personal care (PCAs) or home health aides (HHAs). We will also explore the benefits of CDPAP in general so you can understand whether your loved one is a good fit for the program.

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. There are a few basic rules to keep in mind to qualify.

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 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 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; a physician determines this along with an assessment completed by a Registered Nurse provided by Special Touch Home Care.

To be fully processed and approved for CDPAP service, Health Plans will require submitting a CDPAP application, an “MD Order” (which is completed by a physician), and a couple of 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 can perform skilled tasks (including some health care/nursing duties). In contrast, personal care aides may only perform non-skilled functions like cooking, cleaning, and assisting with activities of daily living.

In other words, a CDPAP personal assistant can do the job of both the personal care aide and a home health care attendant, as well as some nursing tasks. These professional 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
  • The sterile wound dressing of injuries
  • Monitoring complex diets

Benefits of CDPAP

CDPAP is an excellent service with benefits and can be a great alternative to other home care services. With CDPAP, family and friends can be the ones to take care of you or a loved one.

It can be highly beneficial that family and friends are the ones helping them each day instead of a home care professional who may help many different people throughout the week. This way, they can be taken care of by someone you trust.

Additionally, CDPAP allows for a flexible schedule, so if services are not required 24/7, family member(s) or friend(s) can create a care plan for a loved one.

This way, schedules can align, and it will still allow some freedom and independence. This can help maintain self-confidence and independence while getting the required care from the comfort of home.

One of the best benefits of CDPAP is that assistants will not have to undergo formal training. The only training they will undergo is from the person receiving care.

This training could include showing them the different medications needed and when to take them. They are also instructed on the tasks the consumer needs help with. This way, you can ensure great care from someone you trust and love.

The consumer is in charge of CDPAP care, so they can choose whoever they like to take care of you. You can even hire multiple CDPAP PAs if you need or want to. Once the required paperwork and tests are completed, you can have a family member or friend be your CDPAP caregiver.

Getting Started and Getting Compensated

Unlike 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 for teaching 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 do.

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.

New York State has selected Special Touch Home Care as a Lead Fiscal Intermediary for the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP).

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, you may be able to be compensated for your work and time. Why not?

Having someone become a CDPAP aide can be better than hiring an outside personal care aide for many families.

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

couple embracing after receiving in-home care and cdpap


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