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(718) 260-6892

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The Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) is a wonderful initiative in New York that allows patients to choose their own caregivers.

They are able to hire friends or family members to help as caregivers, or “Personal Assistants”, and assist with the daily needs of their home care. In this way, family friends and loved ones—who would likely provide care regardless of the situation—gain the benefit of being paid for the valuable care that they’re providing, and the patient is able to work with someone they feel comfortable with in their own home.

mother and disabled son getting paid cdpap care

If you have a senior loved one, such as your parent or grandparent, who would like you to take care of them as they grow older, you can do this through the CDPAP program. As a paid caregiver, you can make sure that your loved one is getting the best care possible from someone they love and trust. If you are interested in taking part in this innovative program as a paid caregiver, there are certain steps you need to take. Here is an overview of the steps on how to become a paid caregiver and answers to common questions:

What are the steps involved?

There are two main parts to the CDPAP Program: the consumer and the personal assistant. The consumer is the patient who requires the care, and they are the one who initiates the program—they also function as their caregiver’s employer. This will be your loved one, which you’ll be taking care of on a regular basis. These are the steps to be aware of from their side:

Steps for the Consumer

  • They must be eligible for Medicaid: The consumer must already be enrolled or be willing to enroll in Medicaid Managed Care or Managed Medicaid Long Term Care in order to qualify for the CDPAP program.
  • They then need to call their insurance plan to advise them of their interest in the CDPAP program.
  • They must choose a fiscal intermediary, for example, the Special Touch CDPAP program.
  • Next, they need to recruit, interview and screen their prospective personal assistant(s). This could be you or other family members they trust.
  • The consumer asks their personal assistant to sign up with the selected fiscal intermediary.
  • They need to request that their doctor complete the Medical Orders for Home Care required by their health plan and submit the required documentation to their health plan (view the Physician’s Order form here and the Medical Request for Home Care here).
  • Schedule and wait for an in-home assessment to be completed by a registered nurse—there are typically two assessments: the first is from the state (Maximus), and the second is by the consumer’s health plan.
  • The health plan will then advise both the consumer and the fiscal intermediary of the approval of the personal assistant’s services and if you are approved, how many hours per week you have been approved to work for.
  • After services have been approved, the consumer and fiscal intermediary wait for the consumer’s health plan to distribute an authorization for CDPAP services—this is what will ultimately initiate CDPAP services to begin.

Steps for the Personal Assistant:

  • Have an eligible consumer who is willing to hire you. If you have a parent or a grandparent who is in need of assistance with any kind of activities, they need to want to hire you in order for you to be an eligible candidate.
  • Contact the consumer’s selected fiscal intermediary (as per the steps above).
  • Complete a physical exam: This is a standard physical exam that you can do with your own doctor or with us at Special Touch Home Care. The exam makes sure you are physically capable of caring for someone, and you don’t have limitations that may hinder or limit your ability to do so. It includes a drug screening, blood tests, and screening for rubella and rubeola.
  • Finally, you need to complete payroll documents.

What are the qualifications?

The Personal Assistant role is open to a broad sector of the population, but what qualifications should you meet when learning how to become a paid caregiver?:

  • A consumer must be willing to hire you.
  • You must be authorized to work in the U.S and of legal working age.
  • You need to complete a PA application package (supplied by the Fiscal Intermediary)
  • You must complete a pre-employment physical exam to ensure you are physically fit to assist senior citizens in their daily activities.

There are also a few things to bear in mind on what disqualifies you from being a PA:

  • You cannot be the consumer’s spouse or proxy/designated representative
  • You cannot be the consumer’s parent or legal guardian, with very limited exceptions.

Reach out to us to see these exceptions and to learn more about how to become a paid caregiver and who you can be a paid caregiver for.

What is the salary?

There isn’t a fixed salary for paid caregivers in the CDPAP Program; rates vary according to the state, health plan, and fiscal intermediary you choose to work with. The rate in New York City starts at $11 (as of the date this article was written) and goes up from there. By the beginning of 2018, these rates will go up significantly; however, the state is still negotiating the terms of the proposed increase for CDPAP workers. Other factors that influence the rates include time paid off, medical insurance, and other benefits.

How long does the process take?

The timing depends on each individual client and their insurance carrier. Some patients can have their services set up within three weeks, while for others, it can take up to four months. There are many factors that play a part, the largest typically being the consumer’s selected insurance. This being said, you may have a lot of time to prepare to be a paid caregiver for your loved one. During this time, you can learn all about what they need done and figure out how you can help them with this.

How do I apply for CDPAP?

At Special Touch Home Care, we work as a fiscal intermediary, and the process begins with the consumer calling us at 718-627-1122. They need to answer a few questions to be able to best guide them, such as their biographic information, health insurance information, and doctor’s information. They will then be given a medical order, which they need to take to their doctor.

The personal assistant then visits one of our offices to apply and pick up their consumer agreement package. At this point, they are assigned a care representative who helps to guide them through enrolling. This representative knows exactly what needs to get done and how to get it done in a stress-free way for both you and your loved ones. This process can ensure that you will be able to take care of your loved one well and make sure that you are ready for this process to start.

Once I start working, what happens if I need to change my schedule?

The benefits of working with organizations like Special Touch are how we take care of the paperwork and logistics so that both the consumer and PA can focus on the care itself. The consumer works with their insurance company to set a mutually agreed upon schedule. The insurance company then passes this information to Special Touch. We work with a smart telephone system where PAs call in and out every day that they work. It is very important that the calls match up to their schedule—as this is how we log the hours worked and ensure timely payment to the PAs, who are paid weekly. If personal assistants need to modify their schedule, they can give us a call as soon as a change is needed, and when possible, we will help update the system accordingly. Your loved one may need daily care, care every other day, or care only on the weekends. Whatever their schedule is, it’s important that you are available during it, but we know things come up. If you have something that doesn’t allow you to work one day a week or for part of a normal shift, reach out to us because we will be able to figure all of that out for you. This way, you can continue to receive the right pay, and your loved one will receive the best care.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to become a paid caregiver or are ready to become a paid caregiver for a loved one, such as a parent or grandparent, reach out to us today. Discuss the CDPAP program with your loved ones and see if this would be a great fit for them.

couple embracing after receiving in-home care and cdpap


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