About the PCA Program

The State of Minnesota has several programs designed to help older adults and persons with disabilities live in community settings rather than in institutions. The Personal Care Assistance (PCA) Program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, is one such program. The PCA Program started in 1978 when Minnesota added Personal Care Assistant or PCA Services to the State’s Medical Assistance program.


About PCA Services

Personal Care Assistant, or PCA Services, are a type of Home Care Service that helps people in Minnesota with their non-medical health related needs and day-to-day activities. The goal of Personal Care Assistant Services, as with other home care services, is to help people live independently in their own homes and in the community as opposed to a facility. PCA Services are available to individuals of all ages with special health care needs and are a paid benefit under Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare. Home health care PCA Services can be provided through the fee-for-service program, Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver programs, or through prepaid health plans (UCare, Etc.).

PCA Services help people with:

  1. Activities of Daily Living including eating, toileting, grooming, dressing, bathing, transferring, mobility, and positioning.
  2. Instrumental Activities of Daily Living including meal planning and preparation, managing money, shopping for essential items, performing essential household chores, communicating by telephone and other media, and getting around and participating in the community.
  3. Health Related Functions such as range of motion exercises, seizure intervention, or ventilator suctioning.
  4. Redirection and Intervention for Behavior including observation and monitoring.


What are My Options Under the PCA Program?

  • The Traditional PCA Option: (PCPO)Under this option, people receiving PCA Services obtain PCA staff through a PCA Agency which hires, trains, pays, and schedules the hours of PCA workers. To allow more flexibility and meet the changing and varying needs of individuals who receive care, Minnesota’s PCA program also allows for services to be provided through other delivery models described below.
  • The PCA Choice Option: In the PCA Choice program, people are able to independently hire and train the PCAs who provide their care. The PCA Choice option gives consumers a greater level of responsibility in managing their care and the PCA Agency handles employment and management-related functions. In Minnesota’s PCA Choice program, the agency is the employer of record for the PCAs.
  • The Shared Care Option: The Shared Care Option allows one PCA worker to help two or three individuals living in the same setting.
  • The Flexible Use Option: Under the Flexible Use Option, individuals can use their approved PCA hours flexibly within a service authorization period to accommodate their varying needs and schedules.


Who is Eligible for PCA Services?

To be eligible to receive PCA Services, you must:

  1. Live in Minnesota
  2. Be eligible to receive Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare (pregnant women and children under age 21)
  3. Be able to make decisions about your own care or have someone who can make decisions for you
  4. Meet with a Public Health Nurse (PHN) from your county to have a PCA Assessment
  5. Need “constant supervision” or “hands on assistance” to complete at least 1 ADL or have Level 1 Behavior


What Happens at the PCA Assessment?

twin-cities-homecare-training-bAt the PCA Assessment, a Public Health Nurse (PHN) will ask you questions and observe you to determine your need for PCA Services. As mentioned above, in order to qualify for services you need to be “dependent” in at least one Activity of Daily Living (ADL) or have Level 1 behavior. If you need assistance with several ADLs, you will get more help than if you need assistance with one or two ADLs. If you need assistance with critical ADLs (eating, transfers, mobility and toileting), you will get more help than if you need assistance with Non-Critical ADLs (grooming, dressing, bathing, positioning). Click here to take the Best Home Care PCA Self Assessment.


Can I Choose My Caregiver?

In Minnesota you have the option of choosing your own caregivers, including your friends and family members, so you can be sure your care is being provided by someone you already know and trust. According to the National Center on Caregiving, most care in the U.S. is provided by friends or relatives. If you would like to hire a friend or family member to be your Personal Care Assistant (PCA), we are ready to support you and help you through the processs. Please visit our Employees page to see why Best Home Care is a great place to work!

How do I get started?

Getting PCA Services started is easy!

  1. Contact Best Home Care so we can determine your program eligibility
  2. We will then provide you the phone number to request a PCA assessment (See Also: The PCA Self Assessment Tool)
  3. We train and hire the caregiver of your choice
  4. At the assessment, a nurse will determine how many hours of service you are eligible to receive
  5. Services begin with the PCA of your choice