Consumers : FAQ

Consumer FAQ

  1. What is Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA)?
  2. How is CDPA different from traditional home care services?
  3. If I decide to use the CDPA Model, what are my responsibilities?
  4. If I decide to use CDPA, what are Consumer Directed Choices’ responsibilities?
  5. How quickly can I hire a Personal Assistant once I’m referred to CDChoices?
  6. I’ve never hired or trained my own Personal Assistant. Do you have any resources that can assist me with these tasks?
  7. How many Personal Assistants can/should I hire?
  8. What do I do if I feel like my Personal Assistant isn’t performing the roles and responsibilities that we discussed?
  9. There are times when I need to go into the hospital for a few days. Can my Personal Assistants still work for me when I’m in the hospital?
  10. Can I ask my family members to be my Personal Assistant?
  11. What can I ask my Personal Assistant to do for me?
1. What the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA)?
CDPA is a service in which you or your Designated Representative directs your own home care. You or your Designated Representative are responsible for recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, supervising and terminating your Personal Assistants, giving you full control over who will be in your home and how they will complete tasks for you.
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2. How is CDPA different from traditional home care services?
Traditional home care services have different levels of service, such as “homemaker,” “personal care aide,” “home health aide,” “Licensed Practical Nurse,” and “Registered Nurse.” Each level of service has different tasks that they can perform for you, and your caregiver (including his or her level, schedule, and type of training) is chosen for you by someone else. This means that you might need to coordinate with several different people, each of whom must adhere to certain guidelines and schedules, in order to receive your care. With CDPA, there is only one level, the “Personal Assistant,” (or PA). This simplifies the process by empowering one person to do everything you need. You choose and train this PA yourself, and you decide for yourself how he or she should complete required tasks outlined in your plan of care.
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3. If I decide to use the CDPA Model, what are my responsibilities?
You or your Designated Representative will recruit, interview, hire, train, schedule, supervise and terminate your Personal Assistant(s). This gives you full control over:

  • Who you work with
  • Who comes into your home
  • What time of day someone is in your home
  • How tasks are performed

You will need to:

  • Complete the appropriate employment paperwork for each Personal Assistant you hire.
  • Follow your plan of care, directing your Personal Assistant to perform only the tasks listed.
  • Approve time sheets verifying your Personal Assistant(s) worked the hours listed and performed the task approved on the plan of care.
  • Make sure you have backup Personal Assistants scheduled, in case your primary Personal Assistant is ill or on vacation.

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4. If I decide to use CDPA, what are Consumer Directed Choices’ responsibilities?
As a fiscal intermediary, Consumer Directed Choices works with you to ensure you enjoy the highest satisfaction in your service experience. On behalf of you, the employing Consumer, CDChoices will:

  • Process the payroll for each Personal Assistant, including withholdings for taxes and Social Security.
  • Monitor the completion of the required annual Health Assessments and all required employment documents.
  • Handle benefits, such as paid time off, 401(k), and health insurance, as well as workers’ compensation, disability, and-if things don’t work out-unemployment.
  • We also provide you with the support and resources you need to keep your service running smoothly.

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5. How quickly can I hire a Personal Assistant once I’m referred to CDChoices?
There are steps that need to happen before you hire someone, but hiring can happen very quickly, especially if you already know who you want to hire as your Personal Assistant.Once CDChoices receives your referral, a Program Associate immediately contacts you to set up an orientation meeting to explain what paperwork needs to be filled out and what is expected of you as an employer. Generally, the orientation happens within a few days of our contacting you and we always work to accommodate your schedule.

There are state and federal requirements-such as a health assessment-that need to be completed before a Consumer can schedule a Personal Assistant to work. But once we have received the required paperwork and health assessment, your Personal Assistant can start working right away.
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6. I’ve never hired or trained my own Personal Assistant. Do you have any resources that can assist me with these tasks?
In the Consumer Guide, which you’ll receive once you start to use our service, you can find tips and suggestions on interviewing and training someone to be a Personal Assistant (PA). To help you find potential candidates, CDChoices has a web-based database called the Recruitment Assistance Intermediary System (RAIS), which can be used as a recruitment tool.You can also speak to CDChoice’s Peer Mentor, Margie. Margie uses CDPA herself and has been specially trained to provide ideas on recruitment, interviewing and checking references so that you can find the perfect PA for you. Margie can also provide suggestions and information on best practices for dealing with supervisory matters.

We also have many resources at CDChoices for teaching someone how to train a PA, including DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes, audiotapes, and books. Consumers are welcome to visit us at our office to look over the materials we have, or we can mail out a selection. All of our materials will also be available for your use on our website after you log into your Consumer account. For your convenience, a full list is included in your Consumer Guide.
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7. How many Personal Assistants can/should I hire?
You can employ as many Personal Assistants (PA) as you want, as long as you don’t schedule them to work at the same time or to work more total hours than the county or managed care organization has authorized you to use per week. You should employ enough PAs so that you have back-up staff in case one of your regular PAs is on vacation or out sick. You must notify CDChoices each time you hire a new PA and remember that each PA must complete some state and federal Medicaid requirements before you can schedule him or her to work.
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8. What do I do if I feel like my Personal Assistant isn’t performing the roles and responsibilities that we discussed?
As the employer, there are many strategies you can use to manage your employees. CDChoices has several different types of resources, such as DVDs, CDs, and VHS tapes, that can help you learn how to communicate with your Personal Assistants. In addition, you can contact Margie, CDChoices’s Peer Mentor, to discuss a plan for better managing your employees. Keep in mind that it is up to you, as the employing Consumer, to make sure that your Personal Assistants (PA) are appropriately performing the tasks you require of them. CDChoices does not take any part in the disciplining or terminating Personal Assistants.

If you choose to terminate a Personal Assistant, you’ll need to let your Program Associate know. He or she will then complete the appropriate paperwork.
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9. There are times when I need to go into the hospital for a few days. Can my Personal Assistants still work for me when I’m in the hospital?
No, your Personal Assistants (PA) can’t work for you while you’re in the hospital (unless you pay them privately). Since Medicaid will already be paying for you to be in the hospital and receive the hospital’s care, the state does not allow for your PA to care for you between the time you’re admitted and the time you’re discharged. Your PA may, however, work for you until you’re admitted into the hospital, and they may resume working for you as soon as you’re discharged.
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10. Can I ask my family members to be my Personal Assistant?
It depends. New York State law states that any adult can be hired as a Personal Assistant (PA) so long as he or she is NOT the Consumer’s spouse, Designated Representative or someone who is legally responsible for the care and support of the Consumer. According to the Department of Health, this means parents of adult Consumers (21 years or older) can be hired to work as a PA. Parents of Consumers who are younger than 21 years of age will still not be able to be hired as a PA.Depending on the policies of your county’s Department of Social Services or your managed care organization, family members who live with you may be excluded from being paid as a PA. Please check with your caseworker or service coordinator before you attempt to hire a family member as your PA.
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11. What can I ask my Personal Assistant to do for me?
When the Department of Social Service or your managed care plan performs your assessment, a plan of care is created for you. This plan outlines what tasks the Personal Assistant (PA) can perform for you, and Medicaid will only approve payment for work completed toward those specified tasks. If you have any questions about what tasks your PA is allowed to do, please check with your caseworker or service coordinator to make sure a task is approved before assigning it to a PA.
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