Facts About PCA Services

The State of Minnesota has several programs designed to help older adults and individuals living with a disability remain in their community rather than relocating to a facility. The Personal Care Assistance (PCA) Program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, is one such platform. Established in 1978, the PCA Program began after Minnesota amended the state’s Medical Assistance Program to include personal home assistance.

PCA Services are a form of homecare assistance that supports individuals living in Minnesota with non-medical, health-related needs and daily activities. The goal of PCA services, as with other homecare options, is to help individuals live independently in their homes and community, as opposed to a facility.

Available to individuals of all ages with special healthcare needs, PCA services are a paid benefit under the Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare Program and may be provided through the fee-for-service program; Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver programs; or through prepaid health plans (UCare, Etc.).

Home caregiver with young child

What are My Homecare Options Under the PCA Program?

  • Traditional PCA Option (PCPO): Under this program, clients receiving PCA services obtain a personal care aide through a PCA agency, like Best Home Care, that hires, trains, pays, and schedules the hours for care.

To allow more flexibility and meet the changing and varying needs of individuals who receive care, Minnesota’s PCA program also allows for homecare services to be provided through other delivery models described below:

  • PCA Choice Option: In the PCA Choice program, individuals in need of homecare services are able to independently hire and train a PCA to provide care. The PCA Choice option gives the client 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.
  • Shared Care Option: The Shared Care Option allows one PCA worker to help two or three individuals living in the same setting.
  • Flexible Use Option: Under the Flexible Use Option, clients can use their approved PCA hours flexibly within a service authorization period to accommodate their varying needs and schedules.
Humor in homecare services for seniors and those in need of support

What’s a PCA Assessment?

At a PCA Assessment, a Public Health Nurse (PHN) will ask you questions and evaluate your needs to determine your eligibility for PCA services. As mentioned above, in order to qualify for services, you need to be “dependent” in at least one ADL or have Level 1 behavior. If you need assistance with several ADLs, you will get more help than if you require assistance with one or two ADLs.

If you require assistance with critical ADLs (e.g. eating, transfers, mobility, and toileting), you’ll receive more help than if you need assistance with Non-Critical ADLs (e.g. grooming, dressing, bathing, positioning).

parent in need of homecare services for autistic children

To learn more about PCA services and whether this homecare option is right for you, contact us today!